BA crew deny Easter strike

City A.M. Reporter
British Airways cabin crew yesterday ruled out striking over Easter if a union ballot on industrial action sanctions a walkout, as expected.

The Unite union is locked in a dispute with the airline’s management over crew levels and working conditions. It said it was “never the intention of Unite and its BA cabin crew membership to call industrial action over Easter”.

The union will ballot its 12,000 BA cabin crew members between 25 January and 22 February over whether to take industrial action.

Len McCluskey, the Unite assistant general secretary leading negotiations with the airline, said: “I want to make it abundantly clear that, if industrial action receives the required mandate from the members and strike action is made necessary by continuing management intransigence, we will not call such action over the Easter holiday period. We are making this announcement now so families can plan their travel arrangements in confidence.

BA dismissed the statement. “According to Unite’s ballot timetable, it is threatening the travel plans of families and business people from 1 March. Assurances about an unspecified Easter holiday period will be of little comfort to them,” it said. A spokesman added: “We’re available for negotiations at any time.”

Tensions grew this week when BA offered all staff the opportunity to retrain as cabin crew.