BA calls in Acas to avert strike action

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA) said it asked the conciliation service Acas to intervene in a bid to reach a deal with unions on jobs and pay yesterday.<br /><br />Talks between BA and the Unite and GMB unions aimed at agreeing a series of cost-cutting measures including a pay freeze and more than 3,500 job losses broke up without agreement on Tuesday night.<br /><br />BA said: &ldquo;It has not proved possible to conclude an agreement with the trade unions on our pay and productivity discussions by the deadline of 30 June.&rdquo; <br /><br />It added: &ldquo;We have therefore asked the conciliation service Acas to facilitate any future meetings we may have.&rdquo;<br /><br />BA is struggling as the economic downturn continues to hurt its business. It recently asked staff to work for nothing for a month to save money. BA is also pushing for significant changes in working conditions.<br /><br />A breakdown in negotiations would lead to the threat of industrial action by thousands of BA workers over the busy summer months, which would heap more problems on BA.<br /><br />Unite and the GMB are willing to keep talking and said they want &ldquo;a mutually acceptable way forward which protects the long- term interests of our members, loyal BA customers, investors and the company.&rdquo;<br /><br />But a number of sticking points remain, including fears of compulsory job losses as well as concerns over planned changes to consultations over redundancies.