Thursday, 25 January 2007

Cabin Crew Strike Action Goes Ahead

Talks have broken down between BA and the T and G Union and the two-day strike by thousands of British Airways cabin crew is to go ahead as planned on January 30 and 31.

BA claim union officials rejected its plans to end the dispute over sickness, pay and staff issues.

The airline will now advise passengers to make alternative arrangements when hundreds of flights are cancelled.

BA had hoped the union would completely cancel the strike, saying that enough progress had been made in the talks.

Chief executive Willie Walsh said: "We are bitterly disappointed that the T and G has refused to respond positively to the serious proposals we have made."

Of the 14,000 cabin crew working for BA about 11,000 are members of the T and G.

The union had postponed the strike action for 24 hours to allow more time for talks.

Disappointed T and G union deputy general secretary Jack Dromey said BA had squandered a "sincere gesture of goodwill" as the move was designed to open up a "new relationship between BA and the cabin crew".

He said BA "has failed to hear the voice of common sense" by rejecting its proposals.

T and G claim a new regime on sickness pay, introduced 18 months ago, means BA staff are forced to work when they are ill.

BA insists the measures were needed to cut high levels of sickness absence.

Staff now take an average of 12 days' off sick each year - down from 22 days before the new rules were brought in, the airline says.

Starter pay rates for crew members is also subject to dispute.

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