British Airways cabin crew will vote on an offer to end their long-running dispute with the airline and have postponed plans for a fresh ballot that threatened to renew disruption in August. Any resumption of action, should they reject the BA offer, would be unlikely before September.
BA made the offer on Friday, with Unite poised to begin a strike ballot this week that would have seen action resume on August 3. However, cabin crew union Unite warned it would not recommend the BA proposal to members because it does not fully reinstate staff travel arrangements taken from crew who struck in March and May.
Unite said the new proposal includes protection for existing members from new inferior contracts BA is introducing and will provide cabin crew a minimum allowance payment, an improvement to the flat fee that had been offered before.
The consultative ballot on BA’s proposal could begin this week and take up to three weeks.
Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley, said: “As a consequence of the company’s last and final offer the union and its representatives will have no choice but to delay our vote in order to allow our members to consult on the offer.
“The company has made it clear that the offer on the table will be removed if the strike ballot starts on Tuesday.
“It would be therefore be inexplicable if we did not put this offer to our members, and I expect this course of action will be confirmed by our cabin crew representatives when they meet tomorrow.”
But he added: “The fact that staff travel arrangements have not been restored to thousands of crew prevents this offer from BA being the breakthrough everyone seeks.
“Failure by BA to restore travel in full means the possibility of a recommendation is nil and makes acceptance of the offer uncertain.
“This dispute could have been settled months ago. A company cannot expect to attempt to beat its employees into submission and still function normally – it has to win hearts and minds if it is to progress.
“By choosing conflict over consensus, BA has lost tens of millions of pounds and one and half million BA passengers have deserted the airline for other carriers.
“We hope that postponement of the strike ballot will give them time to reflect on what more BA needs to do to restore peace and stability to this company.”
Unite is also seeking an independent review of the cases of members suspended and sacked during the dispute.