British Airways’ cabin crew union, Unite, has once again voted in favor of a strike. The Guardian reports that 81 percent of the members who responded to the ballot cast votes in favor of action (Unite says just under 80 percent of its members responded). That represents a drop from the whopping 92.5 percent that voted to strike on the last ballot, but is still an overwhelming majority.
Despite the vast support for a strike, no immediate action seems likely as the two sides continue negotiating. But clearly the union remains adamantly opposed to British Airways’ plans to freeze salaries for roughly three-quarters of its crew and shift some 3,000 individuals from full-time to part-time status. British Airways also wants to reduce crew levels from 15 to 14 on long-haul flights departing Heathrow.
But while a strike isn’t necessarily on the slate for tomorrow, the union has only 28 days to take action. The union has ruled out the Easter holiday period, but has talked of striking for 10 days, if not longer. The union’s proposed Christmas Day strike this past December, which was struck down by U.K. courts, was scheduled to last 12 days. The union is confident that its voting process, which was deemed unlawful because it included members who had accepted voluntary furloughs, will hold up in court this time around.
As was the case in December, any strike now would likely grind British Airways’ service to a halt. The Guardian reports that “BA is training hundreds of auxiliary crew after calling for volunteers from its 38,000 workforce,” but it seems far-fetched to think the airline could replace the thousands that would walk off during a strike.
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