Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

BA union in strike poll deadline

British Airways plane
BA says it needs to make changes

British Airways staff could strike at Christmas unless a plan to impose job cuts and changes in work patterns is cancelled, the Unite union is warning.

Unite will announce the result of their strike ballot on 14 December. If they vote to take action, the earliest date for a strike could be 21 December.

BA lost £401m last year and is forecast to post further large losses this week.

The airline says changes are essential to its survival and it has not broken contractual terms and conditions.

Cabin crew have been meeting at Sandown Park racecourse in Surrey to discuss the strike ballot.

Pay freeze

BA plans to reduce the existing complement of 15 service crew members on long haul flights by one later this month and has proposed a pay freeze for two years.

BA faces significant difficulties across the business, so why is it also seeking a damaging confrontation with 14,000 cabin crew?
Len McCluskey, Unite

Unite is also seeking a High Court injunction to stop the changes but BA says it will fight the application, arguing that it hasn't broken any contracts.

BA maintains the reduction in cabin crew numbers is so requests for voluntary redundancy and part-time working can be met.

'Reduce costs'

A spokesman said: "British Airways is facing very difficult economic conditions and is heading for a second successive year of financial losses for the first time in our history.

"Everyone within the company knows we must reduce our costs to move back towards profitability."

Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, said: "BA faces significant difficulties across the business, so why is it also seeking a damaging confrontation with 14,000 cabin crew?

"It needs to think again and abandon plans to force through unfair, unworkable contractual changes."



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