BA wont strike .. but talks continue over Virgin walkout

Traveling with BA this summer? You can breath a sign of relief as the two year long cabin crew dispute looks to be over.

However those travelling with Virgin have more to worry about. Virgin Atlantic pilots have so far refused to back down from the walkout and could ruin tens of thousands of family holidays this summer.

Hitting key long-haul routes, including flights to Disneyland in California and Florida, as well as the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia, strikes would be incredibly disruptive for many holiday makers.

Strike dates have not be revealed yet, but the first is expected to take place in July, with further walk outs to follow over the summer.

But there was better news for passengers today though, as BA’s union Unite balloted several thousand of its members, recommending acceptance of an agreement thrashed out between the two sides after 18 months of conflict.

The agreement includes a two-year pay deal and the return of travel concessions for thousands of staff who took part in 22 days of strikes last year, which cost BA £150million.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline said it was disappointed but was preparing ‘contingency plans’ to deal with any walk-out.

Travel industry experts condemned the strike as ‘disappointing and frustrating’.

Balpa chief Jim McAuslan said: ‘There has been no UK pilot strike for 32 years. But there comes a time when even moderate people say enough.

‘With no pay increase since 2008, a below inflation offer for 2011 and proposals for 2012 and 2013 that will be sub-inflation this is now a six-year attack on living standards which has not happened in any other UK airline.’

He added: ‘We do not want to inconvenience the public and hope that Sir Richard will use some of his undoubted flair to settle this.’

A spokesman for the airline said its pay offer was ‘industry leading’ and ‘double the national average for a UK business’.

He added: ‘We are naturally disappointed with the result of the ballot but remain committed to further talks with our pilots’ representatives to find a solution.’