British Airways and Unite to hold talks in bid to prevent cabin crew strikes

British Airways (BA) and Unite union have agreed to hold talks over the next few days in an attempt to prevent strikes by the airline’s cabin crew over their work conditions.

In December, Unite secured a ballot for strike action by 9:1, but BA successfully obtained an injunction against the ballot after the High Court ruled the union had illegally balloted workers who had accepted voluntary redundancy by the time the strike was called.

But despite agreeing to talks with BA, Unite told Personnel Today it would still be balloting its cabin crew members for strike action before the end of the month.

A spokesman for Unite said: “The ballot [for strike action] is continuing. We are now beginning the balloting process. The ballot papers haven’t gone our yet but I would say they will within the month.”

The talks between BA and Unite will be chaired by the TUC.

Unite joint general secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said: “We have said all along that this dispute could only be resolved through negotiation, rather than imposition or litigation, so we are delighted to be joining BA management in talks at the TUC.

“We will be approaching those talks in a constructive spirit, seeking to find a settlement that meets the real concerns of BA’s skilled, loyal and professional cabin crew, while keeping the airline flying.”

A spokesman for BA said: “We have always said we would make ourselves available for talks with Unite at any time without preconditions.

“We are pleased that this new round of talks will now proceed under the auspices of the TUC.”