Latest target of cabin crew representing British Airways cabin crew could be Easter.
Giving the airline a week’s notice Unite has said there will be a fresh strike ballot – the fourth in two years – with the outcome to be stated on March 28.
If the ballot results in a yes, this will lead to industrial action over the Easter holiday and also the Royal Wedding on April 29.
With 78% of cabin crew calling for industrial action last December, a strike could well be on the cards.
However du to a legal challenge by the airline Unite was forced to set aside the vote.
Officials within the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA), Unite’s cabin crew branch, had been drawing up plans for guerrilla action.
Aiming to cause greatest damage to the airline while having minimum impact on cabin crew taking involved in industrial action.
Plans included calling stoppages and then cancelling them at the last minute, leaving the airline having to pay both regular crew and other members of staff, including some pilots, who took over from strikers.
Last year 22 days of industrial action cost BA an estimated £150 million. Although the airline successfully kept most planes running, there were still hundreds of cancellations.
Leaving BA’s reputation hugely damaged, Unite believes indecision over industrial action will harm the airline’s bookings at one of the busiest times of the year.
However the strike also hit BASSA, which has lost 2,500 of its 12,780 members in a year.
It is understood that the causes of the original dispute are close to being agreed upon, BA’s demand for changes in working practices.
But the sides are still miles apart over action taken by the airline during the many strikes last year, including the removal of the staff travel perk.
“If BA’s management believes that it can secure industrial harmony by these methods it is living in a fools’ paradise,” Len McCluskey, Unite’s new general secretary, told union members.
“Only negotiation, not litigation or intimidation, can start to heal the wounds caused by this dispute.”
A BA spokesman condemned the latest strike threat. “Apart from a tiny minority of hardliners, everyone now wants this dispute to be over. It is time for Unite to reflect the mood of its members and seek to promote discussion, not disruption.
“Should there be any further industrial action, we will implement our well-established contingency plans. We will fly a full schedule at London City and London Gatwick. We are also planning to fly 100 per cent of our Heathrow long haul operation and a substantial part of our Heathrow short haul schedule.”