BA cabin crew start voting on new deal

BA cabin crew start voting on new deal

British Airways cabin crew begin voting this week on a deal to end a dispute dating back to 2009 as pilots at partner carrier Iberia moved closer to industrial action.

UK trade union Unite will send out almost 10,000 ballot papers to cabin crew members with a recommendation they vote ‘yes’ to an agreement announced on May 12.

The deal would restore travel perks withdrawn from striking crew and includes a two-year pay agreement. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “There is a change within the management psyche at BA driven by the [new] chief executive [Keith Williams].” The ballot closes on June 22.

However, Spanish pilots’ union Sepla moved closer to dispute over Iberia’s plans to overhaul its short-haul operation with members agreeing to a call for strikes last week. Talks began on Monday to try to head off a battle.

Iberia merged with BA to form the International Airlines Group (IAG) in December, with former BA boss Willie Walsh as chief executive. In March, the Spanish carrier announced plans to outsource 10% of its short-haul operations to Air Nostrum, a low cost subsidiary, and Vueling – in which Iberia has a 45% stake.

The union has said it is prepared to accept cuts in pay and conditions that would reduce Iberia’s operating costs by 40%. But Iberia said it would not accept concessions solely on pay, and Sepla executive chairman Justo Peral said he was “not optimistic” about making progress in talks.

Iberia faces severe competition from Ryanair and easyJet on its short-haul network and it is understood the carrier intends to hire an entirely new crew for this area of business.


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