Summer of strikes looms at BA as job cuts look certain

BRITISH AIRWAYS&rsquo; (BA) chief executive Willie Walsh sought to soft-peddle its staff&rsquo;s strike threats yesterday, saying an agreement would be reached with unions. <br /><br />But the airline boss refused to rule out jobs losses.<br /><br />The news comes as the ailing airline looks to axe over 2,000 jobs, as it tries to weather the financial storm. <br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s essential we make cost savings,&rdquo; BA said yesterday, adding it had offered its staff a range of options, including part time work, voluntary redundancies and unpaid leave.<br /><br />&ldquo;We continue to hold constant meetings with trade unions,&rdquo; the airline added.<br /><br />But a summer of strikes looms for the airline. Nearly 3,000 workers are understood to have voted against proposed pay cuts, with only 487 backing the measures. <br /><br />Walsh has said that BA is in a &ldquo;fight for survival,&rdquo; after it posted record losses last month. <br /><br />The flag carrier has already axed 2,500 jobs in the past 12 months, as it fights falling passenger and freight numbers. Last week, pilots at the airline agreed to voluntary redundancies, and are set to vote on a groundbreaking series of pay cuts. <br /><br />BA has a history of turbulence with its workers. The airline lost &pound;80m two years ago when a flight attendant strike was called off at the last minute. <br /><br />Earlier this week, The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which represents 230 airlines worldwide, upped its estimate of industry losses to $9bn (&pound;5.6bn) for the year, from its previous forecast of $4.7bn.<br /><br />Giovanni Bisignani, director general of Iata, said any recovery in air traffic faced several &ldquo;severe headwinds.&rdquo;