02/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 19:00

BA taking legal action over cabin crew strikes

Category: England

Published: 16th Dec 2009 08:00:00

British Airways is to take legal action after its cabin crew’s union announced 12 days of strike action over Christmas yesterday.

The airline hopes the legal action could prevent the strikes going ahead, and protect their customers from "massive stress and disruption".

According to reports from BA, there were "irregularities" in the strike ballot, which could make it invalid. The airline said in a statement on Tuesday it had written to Unite, the union, highlighting the alleged irregularities, which it believes renders the vote invalid. The airline called on Unite to call off the industrial action by 14:00 (GMT) yesterday. The union did not do so and British Airways is now seeking an injunction to prevent the strike going ahead.

Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive, said: "We are absolutely determined to do whatever we can to protect our customers from this appalling, unjustified decision from Unite.

"We do not want to see a million Christmases ruined.

"Unite was told about the problems with its ballot on Friday. Yet it cynically went ahead with an extreme, highly publicised threat to our customers and our business in the knowledge that it might not be able to carry it out.

"We remain available for talks with Unite at any time without preconditions."

A potential one million passengers could be affected by the disruption if the strikes go ahead.

The strikes, which are due to take place from December 22nd for 12 days, were prompted after the airline made job cuts and froze pay. But the airline has said cost-cutting measures were imperative to keeping the company’s head above water, after suffering heavy financial losses since the global financial crisis.

Unite had said yesterday it was still keen to reach an agreement with the airline prior to the strike action.

Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said: "It goes without saying that we have taken the decision to disrupt passengers and customers over the Christmas period with a heavy heart. We sincerely hope that the strength of this vote will make BA think again and talk in earnest with us about how this disruption can be averted.

"We urge BA and its board to take a pause, step back and work with us to find a way forward. Negotiation is the way to resolve this dispute and we are ready anytime, any place, 24 hours a day to get back round the table to find a solution."

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