The British Airways (BA) cabin crew have planned to stage a 48-hour strike over low payments after rejecting a deal proposed by the airline last month.
UNITE Trade Union made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that about 2,500 members of BA’s mixed fleet will hold the walkout next week from January 10, threatening to disrupt flights.
The action came after the cabin crew rejected a 2-percent raise in their salaries, which Unite said were supposed to be between £21,000 and £25,000 annually but, in reality, started at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay.
The strike had been initially planned for Christmas Day and December 26 but it was postponed after the airline made the pay offer. However, 70 percent of the union members voted the offer down later.
"British Airways is needlessly provoking strike action by refusing to extend the mandate of the strike ballot,” Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said.
"Instead of listening to why its mixed fleet cabin crew rejected the offer, British Airways has sought instead to try and bully a workforce of young men and women who are trying to eke out a living on poverty pay,” he added.
"Unite remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement which meets our members' aspirations can be achieved and would urge British Airways to engage constructively in meaningful talks to address poverty pay," Richardson concluded.
In response, a BA spokesman said the airline was "extremely disappointed" that the trade union had "once again chosen to target our customers".
"Our proposal for our mixed fleet cabin crew reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew at our airline competitors. It is also consistent with pay deals agreed with Unite for other British Airways colleagues," he noted.
Calling the walkout completely unjustified, BA said in a statement that it would give more details on January 6 once it had finalized the contingency plan.
The mixed fleet crew, who have joined the airline in recent years, have poorer terms and conditions than some longer-serving staff. They account for about 15% of BA’s total cabin personnel.