British Airways and union officials representing cabin crew will reconvene for talks this week in a bid to end the threat of strikes resuming next month, but with the airline saying it is “preparing for industrial action”.
Failure to reach a deal could see the Unite union ballot for fresh strikes in September. Sources within Unite have suggested the threat of strikes might extend to Christmas. However, the union has also launched a court case to win the restoration of travel concessions withdrawn from strikers.
BA and Unite met for the first time last Monday since cabin crew members voted to reject a “final” airline offer last month. The talks adjourned without making progress.
The BA offer included a deal on pay, but did not withdraw the sanctions against crew who joined 22 days of strikes in March, May and June. BA said the offer would form the basis of any deal.
Chief executive Willie Walsh said: “We continue to train volunteer cabin crew. I want to reach a resolution, but we are preparing for further industrial action.”
One of the original causes of the dispute – a reduction to crew levels on long-haul flights – has largely been resolved.
A second cause – BA’s intention to set up an alternative group of cabin crew on reduced pay and conditions – has moved to a new level, with BA beginning the recruitment process. The impasse remains the travel concessions.