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Tuesday 19th of January 2010
January 18, 2010    

BA cabin crew to begin second strike ballot

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by Kay Murchie

According to the Unite union, British Airways (BA) cabin crew will begin a second strike ballot next week raising renewed fears for travellers.

The announcement comes after a strike planned for Christmas was declared illegal in a High Court ruling.

However, at the time of the ruling, Unite vowed to hold a fresh ballot if the dispute with BA over pay, jobs and working conditions was not resolved.

Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, said despite “intensive discussions” with BA, an agreement could not be reached.

“We therefore have to honour our commitment to give our members the voice they were denied by the courts before Christmas, and hold a fresh ballot for industrial action,” he said.

The ballot prior to Christmas was prevented from going ahead because Unite had not correctly included the votes of some cabin crew who had already accepted voluntary redundancy under the airline’s major cost-cutting exercise.

However, Unite has today announced that the second ballot would begin in a week’s time, with strike action likely to commence in March.

Speaking of the second ballot, BA said it was “saddened but not surprised” but vowed to continue talks.

A BA spokesperson said: “In recent discussions, Unite has put forward proposals that would actually result in a large increase in costs by reversing the changes to onboard crew numbers made last November.

“In an economic climate in which we are facing record losses, this approach is completely unrealistic.

“Under the package we have put forward, our crew will remain the best rewarded in the UK. There would be absolutely no justification for a strike,” the spokesperson concluded.

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