BA workers to vote on Xmas strike action

BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA), the ailing flag-carrier, was dealt another blow yesterday after the Unite union said results of a ballot on strike action would be announced mid-December.<br /><br />The decision to kick off the vote next week came after thousands of cabin crew met at Sandown racecourse yesterday to thrash out a response to BA&rsquo;s cost-cutting proposals. <br /><br />A Christmas walkout would be catastrophic for the airline, which said yesterday it was &ldquo;extremely disappointed&rdquo; with the decision to ballot. <br /><br />Not only will the carrier lose revenues, but customers will be deterred from using it in the future if its battered reputation is dealt a further blow.<br /><br />The airline wants to cut jobs, freeze pay and offer lower wages to new staff as it deals with its mounting pension deficit and braces itself for another massive loss in second quarter earnings on Friday. <br /><br />But the union said the airline&rsquo;s moves are illegal and last week applied for a high court injunction to prevent the airline from implementing its cost cutting plans. <br /><br />&ldquo;BA is facing very difficult economic conditions and is heading for a second successive year of financial losses for the first time in our history,&rdquo; the carrier said yesterday. <br /><br />&ldquo;Everyone within the company knows we must reduce our costs to move back towards profitability,&rdquo; it added.<br /><br />But Unite asked why, when &ldquo;BA faces significant difficulties across the business, is it seeking a damaging confrontation with cabin crew?&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>FAST FACTS STRIKES</strong><br />&bull; BA is worried that the threat of strikes &ndash; even if they do not go ahead ?&ndash; could damage sales in the run up to Christmas<br />&bull; BA chief Willie Walsh recently said the <br />airline was in a fight for survival