As British Airways (BA) entered the third day of a second five-day work stoppage by cabin flight attendants, Tony Woodley, joint general secretary for Unite, the union representing cabin crew, said that BA CEO Willie Walsh’s “hard-man stance on cabin crew travel will plunge the airline into a prolonged and totally needless summer of disruption.”
The current strike is scheduled to end Thursday, June 3, but cabin crew may vote to continue the strike next week.
Unite, the union representing cabin crew, said the strike thus far has cost BA 98 million euros, or about $142 million. BA is seeking to hire new cabin crew at lower pay than the current crew. Walsh and Woodley were scheduled to resume their talks Tuesday, June 1. BA has said that a large number of its cabin crew are reporting for work despite the strike. Because of that, BA said it has increased its flying schedule during Unite’s five-day strike (June 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9) due to the growing numbers of cabin crew who want to work as normal.
BA said it will increase its Heathrow long-haul schedule to more than 80 percent of flights (up from more than 70 percent this week and 60 percent in the first strike period). It will increase its Heathrow short-haul schedule to 60 percent of flights (up from more than 55 percent this week and more than 50 percent in the first strike period).
BA also said its flights from or to Gatwick, the U.K.’s second busiest airport, will remain unaffected by industrial action due to the levels of cabin crew ignoring Unite’s strike calls. Flights at London City airport also will operate as normal. During the World Cup, the airline said it will fly its full schedule (26 departures a week) to South Africa with thousands of fans due to fly out to Johannesburg and Cape Town from Heathrow Terminal 5 ahead of the World Cup kick off.
The airline also will continue to fly its entire Heathrow to New York JFK schedule and serve in excess of 85 percent of its long-haul destinations and 100 per cent of its short-haul network. BA said it was contacting customers throughout Tuesday to give them as much notice as possible about specific travel plans between June 5 and June 9.