London: British Airways and the union
representing its cabin crew were no closer to resolving a
dispute over pay and conditions on Monday as a strike at the
carrier entered its third - and busiest - day.
Operations at the airline were expected to be under
more strain today as there are far more flights packed in to
normal scheduling than over the weekend.
The Unite union and BA have both claimed victory over
the walkout that has caused the airline to cancel over half
its 1,950 flights normally scheduled over the period.
BA reported that nearly 98 per cent of staff reported
for work at Gatwick and more than half showed up at Heathrow,
allowing it to reinstate a number of canceled flights.
However, Unite said that only 300 of its 2,200 cabin
crew scheduled to work over the weekend turned up, and accused
the airline of counting inbound crew to inflate the numbers of
staff on duty.
BA has warned knock-on effects from this walkout will
carry on throughout this week and workers are due to strike
again from yesterday for four days if the dispute is not
The acrimonious dispute with its workers is expected
to be financially crippling for BA - analysts forecast it
could cost the airline more than the USD 95 million that Chief
Executive Willie Walsh is trying to save through the changes
to workers` pay and conditions.
The walkout is also bad news for Prime Minister Gordon
Brown`s Labour Party, which relies heavily on funding from the
country`s labor unions, and a gift for the main opposition
Conservative Party, which is leading opinion polls ahead of a
general election due within weeks.