BAs' unions threaten strike action if staff are forced to leave the airline

BRITISH AIRWAYS&rsquo; (BA) staff unions were last night locked in emergency talks, following the carrier&rsquo;s decision to cut 1,700 cabin crew staff.<br /><br />The ubiquitous Unite union claims BA made the move without reaching an agreement, and us now threatening strikes over the Christmas period.<br /><br />Earlier this week, BA said 1,000 of its cabin staff had agreed to take voluntary redundancy, with a further 3,000 moving from full to part time work &ndash; the equivalent of 1,700 full-time jobs.<br /><br />Unite claims BA has told cabin crew that they must accept these cuts by 16 November or leave the company.<br /><br />The airline says its staff made the decision to leave or cut working hours voluntarily.<br /><br />&ldquo;BA&rsquo;s move is a quite natural and much needed response to failure of months of negotiations with Unite,&rdquo; Howard Wheeldon at broker BGC Partners said yesterday.<br /><br />&ldquo;Moreover it is also a wake up call to those who earn their living by this airline of just how serious the current situation is. Time they realised then that BA does not have a sugar daddy waiting to bail them out,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />But Unite, which was yesterday in talks with its umbrella branch the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA), says BA &ndash; which is on a massive cost cutting drive &ndash; is forcing staff to &ldquo;pay the price for management failings&rdquo;.