British Airways urged by union to engage in ‘meaningful negotiations’ to avert strikes

Unite has urged British Airways (BA) to engage in “meaningful negotiations” to avert strikes that could disrupt thousands of holidaymakers and business travellers.

The union, which represents the airline’s cabin crew, yesterday announced that members plan to stage a series of five-day strikes in their bitter row over jobs, pay and conditions.

The first strike will begin on 18 May, ending on 22 May, with further strikes planned on 24 May, 30 May and 5 June, the BBC has reported.

But the union said BA could still prevent the walk-outs if it engaged in further talks.

Unite members rejected a fresh deal for cabin crew earlier this month.

In a statement, Unite’s joint general secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley blamed BA for forcing cabin crew to again resort to industrial action, the Sun has reported.

“There can be no industrial peace without meaningful negotiations and while management victimises trade unionists and uses disciplinary procedures in a witch hunt,” they said, claiming that a Unite approach made over the weekend had been rejected.

“The seven days’ notice period is sufficient time for BA management to do the sensible thing and reopen meaningful negotiations,” they added.

However, BA defended its approach to the latest round of talks. The airline’s statement said: “We have made a very fair offer, which meets the concerns the union raised during 14 months of negotiations and also ensures that our crew remain the best rewarded in the UK. That offer remains available.”

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