British Airways passengers could soon breathe a sigh of relief as the disruptive battle between the airline and its cabin crew may finally be at an end. BA and Unite union bosses have reportedly agreed on a deal which they will be recommending to staff later today. It is believed that the airline may finally have backed down on the sticky issue of travel perks and agreed to return them to union members.
One of the longest running industrial disputes in recent history began 18 months ago when BA decided to implement cost cutting measures and reduce crew on some services. Following initial walkouts BA announced that striking staff would be relieved of their travel concessions, a move which resulted in deadlock between the two parties.
Late last year, a glimmer of hope that the fighting was finally at an end came when former chief executive of BA, Willie Walsh, and former Unite leader, Tony Woodley, agreed terms at the negotiating table. However, hard liners at BASSA, the Unite arm representing stewards and stewardesses, refused to accept the deal.
Since then, Mr Walsh has been replaced by Keith Williams and Len McCluskey now heads Unite. Although cabin crew recently voted to stage further walkouts, Unite has been cautious about officially announcing strike dates and BA has been willing to extend the time in which these dates legally have to be announced.
This has led many to believe that, at last, both the airline and the union believe they can come to a mutually beneficial solution to the problem.