LONDON – British Airways PLC’s cabin crew Monday rejected proposals put to them by the airline, Unite said.
The union will now meet British Airways and ACAS, the conciliator, on Wednesday to reconvene talks, a spokesman for Unite told Dow Jones Newswires.
He said: “A mass meeting of Unite cabin crew overwhelmingly rejected the proposals.” Those proposals include job cuts and pay freezes.
“They have backed all of the union proposals discussed in the meeting. We believe therefore this represents a real way forward.”
The airline is looking to cut costs and boost productivity as the global downturn in the industry hits passenger numbers and earnings.
A spokesman for British Airways declined to comment further on Monday’s developments and said it was sticking by its comments made last week that any future talks with unions would be facilitated by ACAS.
Tensions have run high between the airline and the union, with BA failing to turn up for talks called for by the union last Wednesday.
On July 1, Steve Turner, Unite’s national secretary for aviation, said he thought BA was being “opportunistic.”
Both sides have stressed they are keen to come to a deal but the union is reluctant to allow BA to use the recession as a reason to push through permanent restructuring.
Turner has said if BA tries to impose permanent restructuring, the union will consider its options which include taking strike action.
Unite represents some 14,000 of BA’s cabin crew.
Last month, British Airways told the U.K. government that there could be the potential for up to 2,000 cabin crew job losses. On Friday, BA said that it plans to shed the equivalent of 3,700 jobs in the year to March 31.
Some 7,000 of BA’s 40,000 workforce have already voluntarily accepted offers of unpaid leave, unpaid work and part-time work.