Christmas clash seems inevitable for British Airways

Hotel News - 22/10/2009

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Getting stranded far from home during the Christmas period is something that most travellers dread. However, it seems that trouble is brewing on the horizon for leading airline British Airways and despite their best efforts some disruption in the service seems likely.

Since June BA chief executive Willie Walsh has been at loggerheads with union general secretary Derek Simpson. The trouble started when BA announced changes to the working practices of their cabin crew.

BA is battling hard to stay in the black after losing £401 million last year due to a fall in the number of passengers. Walsh has announced their intention to cut £140 million from its annual cabin crew costs by taking measures such as reducing their full-time staff numbers by as much as 1,700. Many of the crewmembers who currently work fulltime will be expected to work part time or take voluntary redundancy. After much discussion, it has now been announced that the changes will take affect on November 16.

Faced with pay or job cuts, many staff members have decided to strike. Walsh and Simpson met this week in order to try to resolve the issue, but it seems that they were unsuccessful.

Before the meeting took place, union representatives issued a letter that said: “If no progress is made at that meeting, a ballot for industrial action is inevitable.”

During the meeting it was made clear that the airline would go ahead with the changes as planned and it seems as though the strike will be formally announced within the next week.

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