12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
12 days of disruption planned over Christmas
Cabin crew at British Airways have overwhelmingly voted for strike action.
Their union, Unite, said the strikes would begin on December 22 and run until January 2, affecting the busy Christmas period.
It did not make clear whether the strikes would be continuous or just disrupt selected days.
One agency reported that there was an 80% of the 12,000 cabin crew who are members of Unite and a nine to one majority in favour of a walk out.
The result was announced to BA staff at a closed meeting at Sandown Park Racecourse, Surrey.
Later Unite's assistant general secretary Len McCluskey, said the decision to strike had been taken with a "heavy heart".
He said the union was still ready to talk with BA.
In a statement, the airline said: "British Airways is extremely disappointed that Unite is planning massive disruption for hundreds of thousands of our customers over the Christmas/New Year holiday period. "A 12-day strike would be completely unjustified and a huge over-reaction to the modest changes we have announced for cabin crew which are intended to help us recover from record financial losses. "Unite's cynical decision betrays a total lack of concern for our customers, our business and other employees within British Airways."
The airline said itsoffer to cabin crew was"very fair and reasonable" adding: "It reduces no-one's terms and conditions, and gives most crew pay rises of between two and seven per cent this year and next year.
"British Airways' cabin crew are already the best rewarded in the UK airline industry."
Willie Walsh, BA's ceo, said: "A strike is senseless - and we urge Unite to draw back. We will not be reversing our changes to onboard crew numbers.
"They have allowed us to accept more than 1,000 requests for voluntary redundancy - and those former colleagues have left the business. "Unite must understand that there can be no return to the old, inefficient ways if we want to ensure long-term survival in the interests of our customers, shareholders and all our staff. "They have no justification for threatening such extreme action. It is very sad that they are seeking to use the Christmas holiday plans and family reunions of hundreds of thousands of people to try to pursue their case."
The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association, a section of Unite, said it was "deeply saddened" by the situation.
It said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened to have reached the point where we must take industrial action to get our voices heard, but feel that we have been left with no other choice," it said.
"We do not want to cause inconvenience, so even at this late stage we offer an opportunity for disruption not to occur."
In an earlier statement, Bassa said it was conscious that stoppages would disrupt passengers planning to take holidays or visit friends or relatives during the festive season.
But it also criticised the airline for making cuts which would reduce the quality of service to passengers.
The strike vote came on the same day that BA revealed its pension deficit had jumped to £3.7bn, up from the £2.1bn reported at the last review in 2006.
The Airways Pension Scheme (APS) has a shortfall of £1bn, while the New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS) is lacking £2.7bn.
A recovery plan and an agreement on future contributions from BA must be in place by June 2010.
This valuation and any future plans must be approved by the Pensions Regulator, after its own assessment.
The regulator's current view is that "the technical provisions may be materially below it feels appropriate", said BA.
Roger Maynard has been asked to step down as chairman of the trustees of the boards of APS and NAPS, to avoid any conflict of interest in his role in BA's merger with Iberia.