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November 29, 2010    

Further strikes expected at BA as crew face further ballot

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by Kay Murchie

Members of British Airways (BA) cabin crew are to be balloted again as the long-running dispute with the airline continues over cost-cutting measures.

The Unite union claims BA refuses to reinstate travel perks, which were stripped from members during a strike in March.

So far, cabin crew members have held 22 days of strikes which has cost their airline millions of pounds.

Several discussions have taken place over recent months between conciliation service, ACAS, BA and the Unite union in a bid to avert further strikes.

However, an agreement has yet to be reached in this long-running disagreement.

BA has accused Unite of creating “fresh uncertainty for customers”. The airline said: “Tony Woodley [joint general secretary of the union] shook hands with us on an agreement in October, and said he would let cabin crew vote on the deal with a recommendation for acceptance,” said the airline.

However, Mr Woodley claims cabin crew had been “victimised and harassed” by the company.

The union will ballot members in one week’s time and if a majority of the 11,000 members vote for strike action, then disruption could start in the New Year but Unite did confirm there would be no industrial action throughout Christmas.

However, BA claims it has a “very robust” contingency programme in place.

“At Heathrow, we will aim to run a substantial proportion of our short-haul programme and 100%of our long-haul operation”, said the airline.

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