Newcastle travellers advised on British Airways strikes
Dec 15 2009 by Alan Jones, The Journal
MORE than a million passengers were facing Christmas travel misery last night as British Airways cabin crew announced a 12-day strike in a bitter row over jobs, pay and working conditions.
Unite stunned the airline by announcing a walkout from December 22 to January 2 following a 9-1 vote in favour of industrial action.
BA said the strikes were “completely unjustified”, while rival airlines moved to tempt customers affected by the action.
Len McCluskey, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said he hoped the size of the vote would force BA to reopen negotiations.
“More than nine out of 10 staff are saying that what is happening is wrong – they want to be treated with dignity and respect.
“We have taken this decision to disrupt passengers with a heavy heart and we are hoping that the company can still avoid it happening.
“We would like passengers to be angry with the company. It is something of an irony that the people responsible for making BA the best airline in the world are now engaged in a dispute.”
Mr McCluskey said the cabin crew were not “mindless militants”, but decent men and women who were proud of BA and did not want to bring the company down.
The strike will ground hundreds of flights and cost BA millions of pounds on top of its current losses of around £1.5m a day. The union warned of further strikes if the long-running dispute was not resolved.
Cabin crew will receive £30 a day strike pay, costing Unite more than £500,000 over the 12-day period.
Officials said it was one of the biggest turnouts in a ballot and one of the largest majorities for industrial action.