LONDON: Talks aimed at averting strikes by British Airways cabin crew over Christmas will be held on Monday. Unite union members based at Heathrow are due to walk out on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a dispute over pay. A spokesman for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) said: “We can confirm that BA and Unite have accepted our invitation to attend conciliation talks in respect of the cabin crew dispute tomorrow morning.” The row involves about 4,500 “mixed fleet” cabin crew who have joined BA since 2010. Unite says they are on lower wages than other staff, referring to the amount that recently hired staff receive as “poverty pay”. BA, which employs about 16,000 cabin crew, said it was “appalled” that Unite proposed to disrupt customers’ travel plans on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and that it planned to ensure its customers could travel to their destinations.
Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “I am delighted that British Airways has heeded our calls for talks. It is only by getting round the table that we can find a solution to my members’ concerns. “Given the huge profits BA’s parent company made last year, the mixed fleet’s calls for a living wage and for equal treatment at work and in their pay packets must be heard. “These are young men and women fighting for justice. Unite will work tirelessly to defend them, to get this dispute solved and to win them the fair and decent treatment they deserve.”