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UK: London: Strike by British Airways cabin crew Feb. 5-7, 9-11

British Airways cabin crew are to step up strike action by holding a six-day walkout in early February, in an escalating dispute about pay.

Approximately 2,900 members of Unite in the mixed fleet division, a branch of predominantly younger and lower-paid BA recruits, will strike for three days from Sunday 5 February, and again from Thursday 9 February.

The action follows two strikes totalling five days in January, which forced BA to cancel scores of flights. The airline said disruption to passengers was minimal, with all flying to their destinations on alternative or merged departures. BA also leased planes and crew from Titan Airways to operate dozens more flights on its behalf.

Union reps from the mixed fleet urged the airline to engage in further talks to avert more action. In a letter, they wrote: “Your reluctance to offer a reasonable pay deal to our members, yet spend what we believe is now reaching millions of pounds in trying to quash strike action, suggests money is available and this is a question of ideology.

“We urge you to recognise that there is a chance here for British Airways to take a different route.”

The mixed fleet was set up by BA during the bitter industrial dispute between cabin crew and the airline in 2010, and all new recruits now join the branch, which operates both short-haul and long-haul flights from Heathrow.

Basic pay starts at £12,192, although BA says all earn at least £21,000 a year once hourly flying pay and bonuses are added. Unite claims the average pay is £16,000, including allowances.