Travel News > November 2009 > Threat of pre-Christmas British Airways strike looms closer

Threat of pre-Christmas British Airways strike looms closer

10/11/2009

A ballot of 14,000 of British Airways (www.ba.com) cabin crew will open next Monday, bringing the threat of a strike over the Christmas period a step closer.

Passengers due to travel over the festive period should check their travel insurance provides cover for delays or cancellation caused by any strike action, which could begin any time after December 14.

The crew's trade union Unite called the ballot last week after a High Court refused to block BA's cost cutting plans that involve changes to cabin crew working practices.

BA's chief executive Willie Walsh says the airline will press ahead with the proposed changes on November 16, which will mean fewer cabin crew on all flights.

Unite claims the changes, which it says were forced through by the airline without consultation with the union, will mean fewer cabin crew working harder for less money, which will hit the level of service to BA passengers.

On the other hand, British Airways - which made a further pre-tax half-yearly loss of almost £300 million to the end of September - insists the cost-cutting measures are essential to ensure the airline's survival.

With revenue likely to be £1 billion lower this year, we can't stand still and further cost reduction is essential, said chief executive Willie Walsh.

Walsh added: ""The global airline industry is facing continued pressure on yields highlighting a significant shift within the industry.

""We will introduce further structural change in the second half to secure the long term future for our business.""

The strike ballot will close on December 14.

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