Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

BA crew to vote on deal to end row

British Airways crew are to vote on a proposed deal aimed at ending its cabin crew dispute

British Airways cabin crew are to vote on a proposed deal aimed at ending their long-running dispute, it has been revealed.

Sources told the Press Association that union leaders believed enough progress had been made during lengthy talks in recent months to warrant a ballot.

Thousands of members of Unite will vote, probably from next week, with the result expected in mid-November.

If they accept the deal it will signal the end of the year-long row, which started over cost cutting but worsened when BA disciplined union members and withdrew travel concessions from cabin crew who went on strike.

Unite's leaders have held more than 50 hours of talks with BA, many involving its chief executive Willie Walsh, at the conciliation service Acas in a bid to break the deadlock.

The union has made no comment, but it is understood that details of the proposed deal will be finalised in the next few days before being sent to the cabin crew.

Unite would have to hold a fresh ballot for industrial action if the deal was rejected, but if members accepted, the bitter dispute would be over.

Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite, said on Tuesday that the BA row was the most testing industrial dispute of his career.

Unite members took 22 days of strike action earlier this year, causing travel chaos for passengers and costing BA more than £150 million.

The dispute started just over a year ago after BA announced a series of cost-cutting moves, including a reduction in the number of cabin crew.

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