Aviation news: New round of talks in British Airways-Unite dispute


Fresh talks to try to avert further strikes by British Airways cabin crews will be held on Monday, despite few signs of a potential breakthrough.

Although members of the Unite union rejected the airline’s “final” pay offer last month, BA said this would still form the basis of any deal.

Unite’s joint leader Derek Simpson said there was no sense in the airline “maintaining this dispute”.

The union has threatened to ballot for further strikes starting in September.

Training volunteers

Mr Walsh said BA was now continuing with contingency plans to deal with any additional walkouts, and that the airline was confident of running all long-haul flights on strike days.

“We continue to train volunteer cabin crew and that programme is going very well,” he said.

“I want to reach a resolution but we are preparing for further industrial action.”

Mr Simpson said questions must continue to be asked “about the direction of BA’s management”.

“It is never our intention to see BA struggle,” he added.

“We would far prefer to see it thrive and the way to ensure this is to settle peacefully with cabin crew.”

Substantial losses

Last week BA reported a pre-tax loss of £164m for April to June, as a result of the strikes and flight cancellations caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

The industrial dispute started last year over BA’s plans to cut costs by reducing the number of cabin crew on aircraft, but the row intensified after the airline withdrew travel concessions from staff who went on strike.

Relations worsened after BA took disciplinary action against union members as a result of the dispute, including a number of sackings which Unite now says have reached double figures.

So far the Unite members have held 22 days of strike action since March.