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UK: BA staff vote overwhelmingly for strike
In the latest chapter in the ongoing dispute between British Airways and its cabin crew, 81% of union members have voted to take up to 10 days of industrial action which could begin as soon as next week. The Unite union has already pledged not to affect Easter school holiday travel plans in April and is expected to decide on strike dates later this week. Since any action has to begin within 28 days of a strike ballot and must be accompanied by seven days notice before it starts, this means that action must take place in March.
The disagreements are over staffing reductions on long-haul flights, with Unite saying they want to keep BA “a premier airline” and BA asserting they would not let the union “ruin the company”. To try and keep as normal a service as possible running, BA has been giving cabin crew training to ground crew and pilots, although it is not clear how many people would be ready to take on these roles.
BA has also shown its determination to face down the protests by threatening to stop the ‘10% tickets’ which it offers not only to all staff with over six months experience, but also their families.
Both the union and company will continue their negotations at TUC (Trades Union Congress) headquarters.