Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Monday, 29 January 2007

Q&A: BA strike called off

BA aircraft on the ground at Heathrow Airport
BA says it is planning a full programme of services
A planned walkout by British Airways cabin crew later this week, and next month, has been called off.

Does that mean flights on the cancelled strike dates will go ahead?

BA now says that it expects to operate all of its flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It had cancelled 1,300 flights to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to allow customers to make alternative travel plans.

Meanwhile, it looks as though flights on the other dates earmarked for action - 5, 6 and 7 February, as well as 12, 13 and 14 February - will go ahead.

What if I am due to travel on the days when the strikes were scheduled to take place?

The situation is becoming clearer.

BA says that if passengers still want to travel on a reinstated service on Tuesday 30 January or Wednesday 31 January they must contact the airline or their travel agent as soon as possible to confirm their travel arrangements.

Customers need to check on www.ba.com for all the latest details and the exact methods of rebooking.

Those without a confirmed booking or who have not rebooked are advised not to go to the airport without first calling BA on 0800 727 800.

Bookings with BA Connect or one British Airways' franchise partners, GB Airways, BMED, Loganair, SunAir and Comair, have not been affected by the dispute.

In the run up to the planned action, BA had been allowing customers who were scheduled to travel between 30 January and 16 February to either rebook flights for different days, without incurring a charge, or gain a full refund.

The refund option was only applicable to customers whose flights operated on 30 or 31 January or whose flight was cancelled between 30 January and 16 February.

So all will be normal then?

Difficult to say.

BA have already said that some flights from Heathrow will not have a full onboard catering service on Tuesday - with affected passengers to be given a voucher to spend in the airport.

And with all the confusion, a few delays are not out of the question.

What is behind the dispute?

Cabin crew have complained that a new regime on sickness pay, introduced 18 months ago, means they are forced to work when they are ill.

BA insists it is merely cutting high levels of sickness absence. It says it has already cut the average of 22 days sickness absence per worker to 12, but this is still above the UK average of seven.

Another issue is starter pay rates for crew members, which begin at 10,000, in addition to general pay levels and promotion opportunities.

The union wants the introduction of a single pay structure, rather than the current two-tier system, with staff who joined after 1997 being paid less than those who joined before that date.

However, BA counters that the two-tier pay structure was agreed by the union when it was introduced 10 years ago.



SEE ALSO
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