British Airways plans full Christmas and Boxing Day service despite strike plan
British Airways plans to run its full service on Christmas Day and Boxing Day despite a planned strike by cabin crew.
Members of Unite are due to walk out in a dispute over pay involving staff who have joined the airline since 2010 and work in the so-called Mixed Fleet.
Talks aimed at resolving the row are being held at the conciliation service Acas.
Alex Cruz, British Airways chief executive and chairman, said: "We are making sure that this attempt to ruin Christmas for thousands of our customers fails.
"Over the weekend we have been working on detailed contingency plans to ensure that we are able to operate our normal flight programme from all our airports on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
"We urge Unite to abandon this strike call, which is serving only to cause anxiety among our Mixed Fleet cabin crew colleagues.
"Our Mixed Fleet crew do a tremendous job for our customers. They earn a competitive salary package, with all crew working full-time receiving a minimum of £21,000 a year.
"We are seeking to improve this package and we encourage Unite to start a positive dialogue with us about our proposals.
"We continue to seek a non-disruptive solution to issues of concern to our Mixed Fleet colleagues. That is why we initiated the talks at the conciliation service Acas today."
Unite claims the pay of cabin crew in the Mixed Fleet is lower than other staff.
But BA said: "Mixed Fleet pay and reward is in line with cabin crew at our competitor airlines. New cabin crew working full-time in their first year at British Airways will receive over £21,000 based on pay, allowances, incentive and bonus.
"We reject Unite's claims about Mixed Fleet's earnings and have offered an independent audit of our pay data over the last 12 months to support our statement that Mixed Fleet cabin crew working full-time earn more than £21,000 a year.
The pay data shows that the range of earnings paid out to full-time Mixed Fleet crew between September 1 2015 and August 31 2016 was £21,151.35 - £27,356.30."
Unite warned British Airways against making "misleading statements" while the Acas talks were ongoing.
General secretary Len McCluskey said: "It is deeply disappointing that British Airways has put out misleading commentary to the media and broken an agreed embargo on comments while negotiations are ongoing.
"Unite is focused on trying to achieve a negotiated outcome for our members, many of whom are young men and women who have been underpaid for years.
"Unite has consistently raised the issue of mixed fleet cabin crew pay over a number of months, yet British Airways has refused to listen.
"The wages British Airways quote are misleading - new entrants to mixed fleet are paid a basic of £12,192 per annum. The food allowance that pilots receive is 15% more than that of the young women and men who make up Mixed Fleet cabin crew.
"Our young members deserve credit for standing up for themselves against a corporate giant such as British Airways in their fight for a living wage. They are entitled to have aspirations and entitled to have a decent standard of living.
"We implore British Airways to drop its aggressive stance, to stop with the misleading commentary and genuinely negotiate. That is the only way to reach a resolution to this dispute."