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British Airways and Union Close to Agreement, Airline Says

August 3, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox


British Airways says it is getting closer to an agreement with cabin crew unions over its cost-cutting proposals.

With the two sides set to resume talks this Thursday after a 14-day cooling-off period, the airline says it is confident of striking a deal that would avert strike action.

The two sides have had an “exchange of communications” during the cooling-off period, a source at the union Unite told The Telegraph. But the union is also demanding that more senior BA executives become involved in the negotiations.

CEO Willie Walsh said he was optimistic that a deal would be reached, and added that the cuts are necessary for the company’s survival. Last week, the airline announced plans to discontinue seven routes from Gatwick and grounding 22 long-haul Boeing 747s and 757s.

The news came as the company unveiled its first quarterly loss since privatization in 1987. BA has already cut 1,450 jobs since March and said around 7,000 staff have supported its cost-saving plan, including 800 who have agreed to work for free for a month.

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