British Airways cabin crews, ground staff call strike

June 03, 1993|By Dow Jones News Service

LONDON -- British Airways PLC cabin crews and ground staff have called a 24-hour strike for midnight local time tonight.

After talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay and conditions, the Transport and General Workers Union announced last evening that its 17,000 members would go strike, but that "the union remains willing to resume negotiations whenever the company is ready to reconsider its position."

A union spokesman predicted the action, involving cabin crew, clerical and ground staff, would severely disrupt the airline's operations worldwide.

British Airways said it hoped the strike could be averted.

"In view of the progress we made today after five hours of constructive talks, and our wish for future meetings, this is wholly unwarranted," an airline statement said. "We are hopeful nevertheless that the strike action can be averted and that passengers will not be inconvenienced."

British Airways pilots are to vote separately later this week on striking the carrier over the airline's plans to transfer short-haul European flights from London's Gatwick Airport into a company division that pays workers about 30 percent less. The airline says it needs to cut costs to stem losses on the short-haul operations out of Gatwick.

Cabin crew based abroad are to be called out by the union, so theeffects of the action will not be limited to Britain. British Airways has no flights out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport but offers two daily flights from Dulles, 50 miles away, along with its Concorde service three times a week.

Earlier this year, BA invested $300 million in USAir, the largest carrier at BWI. The alliance means that British Airways jets will take over USAir's current daily service from BWI to Gatwick, starting in September.

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