British Airways confident in the face of new Unite strikes

Hotel News - 29/03/2010

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British Airways has announced that it plans to fly 75 per cent of customers during the next round of cabin crew strikes. The current bout of Unite-organised walk outs are running from Saturday 27 to Tuesday 30, as workers dispute recent decisions over pay and job cuts.

The March 20 – 22 strikes saw almost 60 per cent of flight attendants cross the picket line. This time, BA has announced that it expects to fly 180,000 of their 240,000 passengers booked on planes during this period, even if it means getting other airlines to pitch in.

A normal schedule is expected at London City and London Gatwick airports, while Heathrow is hoped to operate 55 per cent of all short-haul flights and 70 per cent of long-haul journeys.

The cabin crew labour union Unite have, however, claimed that BA are being overly optimistic about the effect the strikes are having on them. They claim that the two walk outs will cost the airline at least £100 million, far more than the £49 million currently estimated by the carrier. They also claimed that 65 per cent of passengers accounted for in last week’s strikes were rebooked on other airlines.

Unite also called for withdrawn travel privileges to be reinstated to cabin crew staff as part of negotiations to end the dispute. CEO of BA Willie Walsh denied that the move was vindictive but said he has no intention of restoring benefits. The benefits include a 90 per cent discount on all flights.

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