More talks between British Airways and cabin crew union Unite are to be held next week after a meeting yesterday ended without agreement.
The discussion, held at conciliation service Acas, represented the first time the two sides had been involved in formal negotiations since Unite members rejected BA’s offer of a 2.9% pay rise next year with 3% the year after.
Speaking before the meeting, BA chief executive Willie Walsh said he believed that “final” offer still formed the basis of a resolution to the long-running dispute.
He said: “I want to reach a resolution but we are preparing for further industrial action. I am confident we will operate 100% of our long-haul services and we are looking at the short-haul programme.”
Cabin crew have taken 22 days of strike action since March and further walkouts could take place from September unless a deal is reached.
The series of strikes, coupled with disruption caused by Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud, sent BA £164 million into the red for the three months to June.
Unite joint leader Derek Simpson said: “This is a dispute over £10 million. Contrast that with the £164 million in losses this quarter alone and questions must be asked about the direction of BA’s management and the sense of them maintaining this dispute with cabin crew.
“It is important to remember that, on every call in this dispute, BA’s management has got it wrong.
“It claimed that crew would accept the offer if Unite put it to them; they did not. Only 15% voted in favour, with 85% finding no appeal in it at all. BA also claimed that the majority of crew worked during the dispute but we have processed over 7,000 claims for strike pay – that means 70% of Heathrow crew, the backbone of the BA operation, took strike action in defence of standards at the airline.
“These losses bring no pleasure to Unite. It is never our intention to see BA struggle. We would far prefer to see it thrive and the way to ensure this is to settle peacefully with cabin crew.”
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