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British Airways Cabin Crew vote for new strike action

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British Airways’ cabin crew have once again voted in favour of striking, as the result of the latest ballot in the Unite union.

This vote taken by Unite union members is the result of a long running dispute stemming from November 2009, in which British Airways decided to reduce the number of cabin crew on some of their longhaul flights and introduced a two-year pay freeze from 2010. This led to a series of strikes in the spring and summer of last year.

Further issues that the cabin crew intend to strike about include the fact that travel concessions have been taken away from striking staff and that disciplinary action has been taken against some of the Unite union members in relation to the dispute. Also, in regards to the strikes in the past, cabin crew are demanding that staff who were genuinely sick at the time should have their sick pay restored.

This latest ballot, being the fourth, was the re-run of an invalidated vote held just before Christmas. The results were clear; with the majority of Unite members who voted, favouring strike action with a vote of 5,811 compared to 1,170 voting against it. Strike dates have yet to be decided by Unite union, with the possibility of strikes occurring over Easter.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey has said: „This vote shows that cabin crew remain determined to win justice.” Mr McCluskey also claimed that the union and British Airways were still "in discussions“ to resolve the dispute. On the matter, British Airways have said; “this is a time for co-operation, not confrontation…we began talks with Unite earlier this month, and those talks are continuing. We hope they will bring an end to this dispute, which is what the overwhelming majority of our cabin crew want."

British Airways is adamant that should a strike occur, flights operating to and from London City (LCY) and London Gatwick (LGW) airports will not be affected. They claim that all long-haul flights from London Heathrow (LHR) will proceed as normal and many short-haul flights will also continue.

So far the dispute has already led to 22 days of strike action, costing the airline more than £150m. As the peace talks continue between the two sides, British Airways will need to think fast to regain the trust of the cabin crew once more.

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