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Further strike action at British Airways

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by Kay Mitchell

The merger between British Airways and Spanish airline, Iberia, was completed today - creating Europe’s second largest airline.

However, the deal will no doubt be overshadowed by the news that British Airways cabin crew have voted to strike again, the Unite union confirmed today.

Unite said its members voted by 5,751 to 1,579 to take further strike action but dates for the action have yet to be announced.

Cabin crew have been involved in a long-running dispute with the airline over cost-cutting measures, which include a pay freeze, a switch to part-time working for thousands of staff, as well as removing travel perks, which were stripped from members during a strike last March.

To date, cabin crew members have held 22 days of strikes which has cost the airline millions of pounds.

Unite’s leader, Len McCluskey, said: “For the fourth time in 13 months, BA cabin crew have voted overwhelmingly in support of their union and expressed their dissatisfaction with management behaviour.”

However, in response, the airline said that Unite did not have “majority support” for industrial action.

“Of our 13,500 crew, only 43% voted in favour of strike action in this ballot,” the airline said.

“Unite has lost about 2,500 cabin crew members since this dispute started, as crew have voted with their feet. Even with a smaller membership, the proportion of Unite members supporting disruption continues to fall, contrary to the union’s claims.”

BA has previously claimed it has a “very robust” contingency programme in place.

The airline has admitted in the past that it is fighting for survival and said the cost-cutting programme is part of a strategy to reduce salary costs.

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