British Airways cabin crew announce 48-hour walkout

LONDON: A group of British Airways cabin crew on Tuesday (Jan 3) announced a 48-hour walkout for later in January, in an ongoing pay dispute which saw the airline narrowly avert a Christmas Day strike.

Up to 2,700 British Airways cabin crew are due to strike from Jan 10 after rejecting a deal proposed by the airline in December, Unite union said. (AFP/JUSTIN TALLIS)

Up to 2,700 cabin crew are due to strike from Jan 10 after rejecting a deal proposed by the airline in December, Unite union said.

Last month's offer averted a walkout originally planned for Christmas Day and Dec 26 (Boxing Day), but 70 per cent of Unite members involved in the dispute subsequently rejected it in a vote which ended on Jan 1.

The industrial action involves British Airways cabin crew who joined the airline after 2010 and work a combination of short and long-haul flights.

Unite said they earn a basic annual salary of just over £12,000 (US$14,700) with additional earnings determined by the time spent in the air, a set-up the union said forces some staff to get second jobs.

Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer, said he hopes talks with the airline can be renewed.

"Unite remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement which meets our members' aspirations can be achieved and would urge British Airways to engage constructively in meaningful talks to address poverty pay," he said.

Those involved in the strike account for 15 per cent of British Airways cabin crew and the airline said it aimed to have all customers travel to their destinations during the walk-out.

"We are extremely disappointed that Unite has once again chosen to target our customers.

"We are now focused on protecting our customers from this unnecessary and completely unjustified action," British Airways said in a statement.

The airline did not provide detail of its offer to cabin crew, but said the proposal reflected pay by other UK companies.

Source AFP