London, England, United Kingdom— British Airways’ cabin crew late Monday announced a series of five-day strikes that will disrupt the travel plans of up to 2 million passengers starting on May 18, as its bitter dispute continues with management over pay and working conditions.It is said that it will end 22 May – with further strikes planned on 24 May, 30 May and 5 June.
The industrial action was agreed upon following the rejection by the cabin crew who belong to the labor union Unite of BA’s offer.
Unite’s joint general secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said: “Passengers and investors alike will be dismayed that British Airways’ management rejected an approach by the union over the weekend, after their offer had been comprehensively turned down by their own employees.
“Cabin crew are left with no choice but to take further strike action. There can be no industrial peace without meaningful negotiations and while management victimises trade unionists and uses disciplinary procedures in a witch-hunt.”
But the union added that BA could still prevent the strikes if the company did “the sensible thing” and reopened “meaningful negotiations.”
he Unite action would badly impact BA, which had suffered from prolonged strikes in March and then followed by massive losses caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption in April, which disrupted flights for six-and-a-half days.
Unite is scheduled to hold another ballot among 11,000 flight attendants whose travel perks were removed by the air carrier because of their participation in the March strikes.
BA insisted it made a very fair offer that met the union’s concern and ensure the airline’s crew are one the best rewarded in U.K.’s aviation industry. BA said the offer is still available.
BA said it will revise its Heathrow schedule and release more details four or five days before the strike. The firm assured travelers BA will operate a substantial portion of its long haul schedule and maintain a number of daily flights to short haul destinations.
The company added: “We are speaking to a number of carriers about leasing in extra aircraft to support our short haul schedule and also obtaining thousands of seats from other airlines to help our customers rebook if their original flight is cancelled.”