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Tue, Jun 01, 2010

British Airways Crews Resume Walkout During U.S. Holiday

Busy Travel Weekend In Britain As Well, With 22,000 Reportedly Stranded

Talks between British Airways and it's cabin crews broke down again over the weekend, prompting flight attendants to walk off the job on a busy travel weekend both in the UK and the U.S.

The labor action reportedly grounded as many as 22,000 travelers at airports around Great Britain, but BA said it was attempting to continue to operate at least 70 percent of its long-haul flights out of Heathrow, along with 55 percent of the short-haul routes.

The New York Times reports that Unite The Union, which represents the BA air crews, said support for the strike was "solid", and that additional job actions are under consideration. BA cabin staff are scheduled to walk off the job again on June 5th if their issues are not resolved.

The negotiations between the union and the financially-struggling carrier stalled again last Friday. While a government mediator said new talks should get underway as soon as possible, none have been scheduled so far. BA is trying to save $231 million per year over each of the next 10 years in part by hiring any new air crews under a different, read lower scale, system of pay and benefits than current air crews receive.

The union and the airline gave conflicting reports as to how many flight actually operated after talks broke down. Unite says 121 of 333 flights scheduled for Friday were canceled, including 20 long-haul flights. The airline said only that a "large majority" of flights operated normally. BA also said that the strike was "ignored" at Gatwick, and that London City airport reported no cancellations. Unite says it will not return to the bargaining table unless BA gives back employee travel perks to those who honored picket lines in March, and agrees to talk about the jobs of workers who were suspended during that earlier job action.

FMI: www.unitetheunion.com, www.ba,com

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