British Airways facing pay strike

British Airways flight attendants will walk out next week after the carrier declined to extend their right to strike in return for renewed pay talks following the rejection of the latest offer, according to the Unite union.
British Airways facing pay strike

So-called “mixed fleet” cabin crew, who work on both short- and long-haul flights, will take action for 48 hours from Tuesday, January 10, the labour group said in a statement on its website.

British Airways said it aims to ensure all customers reach their destination and will publish contingency plans tomorrow.

Unite scrapped calls for a walkout over the Christmas and St Stephen’s Day holidays after British Airways proposed a new pay deal in talks at the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

Staff rejected the offer in a ballot and the company declined to extend the strike mandate, the union said, adding members must legally take action within 28 days of voting.

More than 2,500 of BA’s 16,000 cabin crew could potentially strike in what would be its first walkout since 22 days of action in 2010, after which workers accepted a deal that included drastic pay cuts for new recruits.

Salaries for mixed-fleet employees have been advertised as worth between £21,000 (€24,695) and £25,000 a year, but in practice begin at £12,000 pounds plus £3 for each hour flying, according to Unite.

BA, a unit of Wille Walsh’s International Consolidated Airlines Group, which includes Aer Lingus, has proposed “a fair and reasonable pay increase” worth 2% this year and 7% over three years, in line with settlements at rival carriers.

Meanwhile, German airline Lufthansa said it plans to hire more than 3,000 new staff in 2017, most of them flight attendants. In a statement released yesterday, the airline group’s airlines — Austrian, Swiss and Eurowings — are hiring more than 2,200 staff, it said.

Lufthansa Technik is planning to recruit 450 new staff. Lufthansa cabin crew and pilots have gone on strike several times over the last few years as the airline battles to reduce costs.

Its cabin-crew union UFO said last month the latest talks over pay and working conditions had failed.

The strike had led to the cancellation of Lufthansa flights into and out of Ireland. The strike lasted longer than expected and caused severe disruption to operations, in a long-running pay dispute.

Bloomberg, Reuters and Irish Examiner staff

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