British Airways has accused Unite of showing “callous disregard” for its customers after the union urged its cabin crew members to reject the airline’s latest offer.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh and Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley have been holding lengthy negotiations since last month’s strikes as the two sides try to hammer out a deal regarding cabin crew’s pay and working conditions.
However, as the sides clash over BA’s removal of travel concessions for crew members who took part in the strikes, they have been unable to reach a settlement, causing talks to break down yesterday and prompting Unite to urge its members to reject the airline’s latest offer in a ballot being held over the next week.
A BA spokesman said: “It is extremely disappointing that Unite is urging its members to reject our latest offer and apparently preparing for a further strike shortly after the general election campaign ends.
“Unite is showing callous disregard for our customers and our business only a few days after we have begun our recovery from the longest and costliest airspace shutdown in history.
“Despite our financial circumstances, we have put a very fair offer to Unite.
“We believe this offer addresses all the concerns the union has expressed during the past 14 months: including pay and allocation of routes and crewing levels on some flights, while allowing wider take-up of the popular option of part-time working.
“If Unite is to put our offer to its members, we believe it should do so fairly, openly and transparently – rather than in the closed and rushed manner that is proposed.
“The union’s recommended rejection is clearly out of touch with the majority of crew who worked normally during Unite’s previous failed attempts to ground our airline.”