British Airways cabin crew will strike over the Christmas period, their union said on Monday, throwing the plans of thousands of holiday-makers into uncertainty at one of the busiest times of the year.
Strikes are to begin Dec 22 and run for a dozen days until Jan 2, said Len McCluskey, the assistant general secretary for Britain's Unite union. McCluskey said 92.5 per cent of workers voted in favour of the action.
"We are prepared to discuss anything, any issue," McCluskey said at a news conference.
The struggling carrier has announced sweeping changes as part of its bid to cut costs, including axing 1,700 jobs, freezing pay for current staff and offering lower wages for new employees.
The airline has suffered along with the rest of the industry due to lower demand for travel during the global recession.
Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said the cabin crew had been misled by the union over the necessity and fairness of the airline's new pay and work proposals.
"Our cabin crew union refuses to acknowledge what is going on around it," the outspoken Walsh wrote in today's Daily Mail newspaper. "Like King Canute, it sits by the water's edge shouting at the waves of recession and competition to go back."