Belfast Telegraph

British Airways cabin crew to stage four more strikes in dispute over pay

British Airways cabin crew are to stage a fresh wave of four strikes in a long-running dispute over pay.

Unite said its members at the airline were "piling on the pressure" by walking out from February 22, on top of a four-day stoppage from this Friday.

Members of the so-called mixed fleet have taken 11 days of action so far this year in protest at "poverty" pay.

Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: "For every hour British Airways 'wet leases' an aircraft from another airline to cover striking cabin crew it costs in the region of £2,000 to £3,000.

"Our estimates put the amount of money British Airways has spent on defending the dispute and poverty pay at £1 million.

"This is money which the airline has taken a conscious decision to give to other airlines rather than addressing pay levels which are forcing hard-working mixed fleet cabin crew into financial hardship.

"We would urge British Airways to reconsider its costly intransigence and enter talks at Acas and reach an agreement."

The two sides have clashed over pay, with Unite saying the cabin crew earned an average of £16,000 a year, including allowances, but BA insisting no one was paid below £21,000.

The mixed fleet work on short and long-haul flights.

British Airways said all of its customers will fly to their destinations during the strikes from Friday.

All flights to and from London Gatwick and London City will operate as normal, as will the " vast majority" of flights to and from London Heathrow.

The airline said in a statement: "To enable all customers to travel we will be merging a very small number of flights at Heathrow - about 1% of total flights planned. We are contacting customers on those flights with the options available to them.

"We will publish more details over the weekend in relation to further strikes called by mixed fleet Unite for February 22-25, but as in previous strikes all customers will fly to their destinations.

"Our pay offer for mixed fleet cabin crew is consistent with deals agreed with more than 90% of British Airways colleagues, including many Unite members.

"More than 9,000 cabin crew, represented by a different Unite branch, this week voted overwhelmingly to accept the deal.

"The offer also reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure that rewards for mixed fleet remain in line with those for cabin crew at our airline competitors."