British Airways calls in Acas in bid to avoid strike action over sickness absence policy and pay

British Airways (BA) has called in conciliation service Acas in an attempt to avert strike action in a row over sick pay.

Last week, 11,000 cabin crew workers voted by 96% in favour of industrial action.

The Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) announced over the weekend that cabin crew will stage a walk-out from the 29 January for three days.

The union also warned of two further stoppages in February if no resolution emerged.

BA said the strike was “totally unjustifiable”, but wanted to resolve the issues “through dialogue”.

Cabin crew have complained that a new sick pay policy – introduced 18 months ago – means they are forced to work when they are ill. Another issue is starter pay rates for crew members.

BA insisted it was merely cutting high levels of sickness absence. The company averages 12 sick days per worker per year, above the UK average of seven a year.

Last week, BA announced it was changing its uniform policy to allow religious crosses to be worn openly following widespread criticism

The company announced a review last year after a row erupted when Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida challenged a ban on her visibly wearing a cross on a necklace.

From 1 February, any of the airline’s 34,000 staff who wear a uniform will be able to openly wear a symbol of faith, including a cross and chain.

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