A deal agreed between British Airways and trade union Unite has been overwhelmingly accepted by the airline’s cabin crew. Although the agreement was announced on 12 May, it still had to go to staff for approval.
That approval was given by 92 per cent of the voters. Although BA is still to make an official comment, Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, called the agreement “honourable”.
The industrial dispute between the airline and its staff has been going on for nearly two years. Problems started after BA announced staffing and pay cuts. However, the argument quickly morphed into a fight over the restoration of travel perks which were taken away from striking workers by the then-chief executive Willie Walsh.
Many believe that an agreement was made possible after Mr Walsh left BA to take charge of parent company International Airline’s Group. He was replaced by Keith Williams, who immediately declared that he wanted better relations between the flag carrier and its staff.
The new deal will provide workers with up to a four per cent rise in pay this year and up to 3.5 per cent in 2012. The airline has said it will also return travel privileges to those who lost them because of their involvement in strike action.
Last year, there were 22 days of strikes which are estimated to have cost the airline £150 million. The continued threat of industrial action has also done little for the airlines brand. McCluskey said the acceptance of the deal meant the airline could now begin to move forward.
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