Although British Airways cabin crew members are about to be balloted over strike action, it is thought that they will not be keen to walk out during the Royal Wedding on 29 April. Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, the UK’s biggest union, said he doubted whether members would be keen on a walkout over a holiday. However, he also said that if BA crew members wanted to strike over the bank holiday he would support them.
The argument between BA and its cabin crew has been going on since the end of 2009. Industrial action meant 22 days of strikes last year and has cost the airline some £150 million. A recent vote resulted in 5,700 crew members electing for industrial action. However, Unite had to scrap the ballot because of legal issues raised by BA.
If there is another positive vote, it is likely to be carefully scrutinised by lawyers working for the airline. The last vote was thrown out because BA claimed the purpose of the ballot was not clear.
If a strike is supported by Unite members, it is unlikely to be a traditional walkout as BA has recruited auxiliary workers to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum. The carrier has promised that in the event of a walkout it will continue to operate all of its long-haul services.
A spokesman for BA said Unite needed to go back to a deal which was agreed at the end of last year which guaranteed that crew operating out of Heathrow would remain among the best rewarded in the industry.
We Search and compare over 40 car hire suppliers to find you the cheapest car hire deal