British Airways crew members to go on strike

Last Updated: Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 23:15

London: Thousands of passengers travelling
by British Airways will be hit by a strike from Monday by
cabin crew of the airline after the labour union reported a
"catastrophic breakdown" in talks on long-running dispute over
work schedules, pay and working conditions.

Tony Woodley of Unite union has said there had been a
"catastrophic breakdown" during yesterday`s talks.

The talks ended following an impromptu demonstration by
protesters.

BA`s chief executive Willie Walsh earlier said he hoped
the walkout could be averted.

But he was angered by the Unite union`s joint leader
Derek Simpson using Twitter to detail the talks as they were
ongoing, BBC reported.

"Given the events of yesterday we shall not be making any
public comment in relation to any discussions we are holding
with the parties," Walsh said.

"I was shocked and angry when I found out that Derek was
doing that," he said.

"Sending out his version of events to the wider audience,
that really did undermine my confidence in his desire to
resolve this situation, he added.

Unite insisted "references to tweeting are peripheral to
the real concerns to passengers" and that it was "ready to
resume talks with BA at any time".

The walkout starting from midnight is due to last for five
days, with three further five-day strikes set to follow on on
24 May, 30 May and 5 June.

While it comes after a long-running dispute over jobs, pay
and working conditions, Unite says the latest industrial
action is over disciplinary action against some of its
members, and the removal of travel perks following the strikes
in March.

The strikes would bring more loses to BA, which posted a
record annual loss of USD 611 million on Friday.

Two cabin crew walkouts over seven days in March cost BA
an estimated 45 million pounds. The airline also has been hit
by the sporadic closure of European air space because of ash
from Iceland`s erupting volcano.

BA plans to operate most of its flights during the
strike.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 23:15

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