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BA crew members to go on strike tomorrow

india Updated: May 23, 2010 20:36 IST
PTI
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Thousands of passengers travelling by British Airways will be hit by a strike from Monday by cabin crew of the airline after the labour union reported a "catastrophic breakdown" in talks on long-running dispute over work schedules, pay and working conditions.

Tony Woodley of Unite union has said there had been a "catastrophic breakdown" during Saturday's talks.

The talks ended following an impromptu demonstration by protesters.

BA's chief executive Willie Walsh earlier said he hoped the walkout could be averted.

But he was angered by the Unite union's joint leader Derek Simpson using Twitter to detail the talks as they were ongoing, BBC reported.

"Given the events of yesterday we shall not be making any public comment in relation to any discussions we are holding with the parties," Walsh said.

"I was shocked and angry when I found out that Derek was doing that," he said.

"Sending out his version of events to the wider audience, that really did undermine my confidence in his desire to resolve this situation, he added.

Unite insisted "references to tweeting are peripheral to the real concerns to passengers" and that it was "ready to resume talks with BA at any time".

The walkout starting from midnight is due to last for five days, with three further five-day strikes set to follow on on 24 May, 30 May and 5 June.

While it comes after a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions, Unite says the latest industrial action is over disciplinary action against some of its members, and the removal of travel perks following the strikes in March.

The strikes would bring more loses to BA, which posted a record annual loss of USD 611 million on Friday.

Two cabin crew walkouts over seven days in March cost BA an estimated 45 million pounds. The airline also has been hit by the sporadic closure of European air space because of ash from Iceland's erupting volcano.

BA plans to operate most of its flights during the strike.

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