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BA Strike Update: British Airways Takes Action

December 15, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Reuters is reporting that British Airways is taking legal action to halt a 12-day strike planned by cabin crew over Christmas, alleging balloting irregularities.

"The airline called on (union) Unite to call off the industrial action... The union has not done so and BA is now seeking an injunction to prevent the strike going ahead," the airline's chief executive Willie Walsh said in a statement on Tuesday.

BA cabin crew voted on Monday to walk out from December 22, escalating a dispute over job losses and changes to working practices. The airline said it had written to Unite, highlighting irregularities it believes render the ballot invalid. BA believes ballot papers were sent to staff who had left the company or were in the process of leaving and should not have been balloted, breaching industrial relations law, a BA spokeswoman said. Some 13,000 BA staff were balloted by Unite, 92.5 percent of whom favored industrial action.

The airline wants three quarters of its crew to accept pay rises of between 2 and 7 percent this year and a pay freeze in 2010, and for 3,000 staff to switch to part-time working, along with a reduction in onboard crewing levels from 15 to 14 on long-haul flights from London's Heathrow airport. Shares in BA fell 2 percent after analysts said the strike could result in the airline losing upwards of $406 million in revenues.

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