THE TRADE is preparing for another British Airways
strike if talks with flight engineers fail this week.

Fears have increased after 70% of flight engineers
rejected the 3% pay rise offer.

Union Amicus, representing around 95% of BA’s
engineers, said members were unhappy with several conditions put forward by BA,
including more extensive use of the controversial swipe card system and the
electronic recording of how long it takes to complete tasks.

The two parties hope to thrash out a deal this week. But
if talks fail, Amicus will ballot members on industrial action, making strikes
likely at the end of October.

Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson added: “This is
a very powerful message from our members to BA. We’re now seeking urgent talks
to settle this dispute and avoid a ballot for industrial action.” 

BA said the 3% increase, which would be backdated to
January, was a fair offer. A spokeswoman said: “We’re disappointed the flight
engineers have rejected the pay deal but believe the offer is sensible given
the commercial environment we are operating in.”

A strike could cost the airline £30 million. It was
hit badly in July when staff staged a walkout leaving thousands of passengers
stranded at Heathrow and the carrier’s reputation seriously damaged.