British Airways cabin crew expected to push for longer strikes

British Airways (BA) cabin crew representatives are expected to push for longer strikes today as a new wave of industrial action is likely to be announced the day after the general election.

It is thought shop stewards from Bassa – the cabin crew branch of Unite union – will refer in a meeting today to an online poll of members, which saw the majority approve strikes lasting more than 10 days, the Guardian has reported.

BA’s cabin crew previously staged a three-day and four-day strike in March in a row over staffing cuts and working conditions.

Unite must give BA seven days’ notice of a strike, making 14 May the earliest possible date for a strike.

A consultative ballot of about 11,000 BA cabin crew, over a deal proposed by the airline, closes at midnight on Thursday, but the union has urged the workers to reject the deal.

Unite’s joint leaders, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, recommended the deal be rejected after BA chief Willie Walsh refused to fully reinstate staff travel perks that were withdrawn from an estimated 5,000 cabin crew who took part in the March strikes. Walsh’s refusal to also suspend disciplinary procedures against more than 50 cabin crew relating to the industrial action has also angered Unite.

Industry experts have also warned a hung parliament in the general election could make prolonged strikes more likely as there would be no mediating voice in a dispute.

A BA spokesperson said: “We have put a fair offer to Unite that addresses all the concerns the union has raised during the past 14 months of negotiations. It offers our cabin crew the assurances they have been asking for, and so we are asking them to accept the proposal and put this dispute behind us.”

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