British Airways strike set to be announced on Tuesday
British Airways has until tomorrow (Tuesday) to reach a deal over staffing levels, pay and working conditions or its disgruntled cabin crew will announce strike action.
In an attempt to persuade the airline to back down on its radical cost-cutting plans, the cabin crew have apparently offered to accept a 3.4 per cent pay reduction, which will save the airline nearly £60 million, and the union Unite has given British Airways until tomorrow evening to accept.
Some 80 per cent of Unite members voted in favour of industrial action in the latest ballot last month, but under union rules it only has until March 15 to announce details of any planned strikes.
The union must give at least seven days' notice of industrial action. British Airways has promised passengers that it will continue to fly, even if cabin crew walk out.
The airline's chief executive Willie Walsh claims British Airways has recruited 1,000 volunteers who will stand in for cabin crew during any industrial action.
He claims the volunteers, who have already been trained as stand-in crew, are ready to begin work this week. British Airways believes that it will be able to continue to operate all long-haul services and about half its short-haul flights from Gatwick even if strikes go ahead.
It is planning to lease fully-crewed aircraft from other airlines to operate services out of Heathrow and it has also block-booked seats on other airlines flying out of the London airport to keep passenger disruption to a minimum.
Passengers caught up in a strike who bought travel insurance before the union ballot for industrial action should check their travel insurance policies or contact their insurer to see if they are eligible for refunds.