British Airways and Union to Resume Talks

The Times is reporting that union leaders representing British Airways' cabin crew have agreed to hold talks with the airline this week in an effort to settle a dispute that threatens to cause major disruption to passengers.

Even as Unite prepared to meet with management for the first time since talks collapsed before Christmas, the union was pressing ahead with plans to ballot members for a second time on potential strike action.

A High Court judge granted an emergency injunction against a 12-day cabin crew strike planned for the Christmas period because the union had included staff who had already taken voluntary redundancy.

The union remains opposed to changes to cabin crew rosters—one steward has been removed from all flights, two from some long-haul services—which it says were imposed by BA. The company is equally adamant that the changes it introduced in November will remain in force. Nevertheless, the two sides appear willing to return to the negotiating table at the TUC.

The company says that is committed to a severe cost-cutting agenda as it struggles under record losses. Its own analysts predict that the airline could lose as much as $1.2 billion this year as higher fuel prices and fewer premium passengers hit revenues.

BA announced that passenger numbers fell by 4.4 per cent last month on an annual basis to 2.4 million.

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