British Airways, RMT, Civil Servants To Strike In The U.K.
Three Strikes To Affect UK
Three strikes are likely to affect the daily routine of thousands of people in the United Kingdom. The employees of air carrier British Airways announced their plans to strike. It is estimated 13,500 British Airways cabin crew will go on a walk-out on March 27 organized by "Unite," a labour union for British Airways employees. Approximately, a third of all British Airways flights will be canceled. The company estimates 25,000 passengers could be affected each day.
But, the British Airways crew members went on strike at midnight on Friday after negotiations between the Union and British Airways fell through again. This strike is supposed to last three days. The strike planned for March 27 will also proceed as planned.
Thus, the dates of the strike span March 20, 21, 22 and 27, 28, 29, 30.
All flights will operate as normal until the first day of strike. Certain flights have been reinstated with the help of cabin crew employees who have offered to work in support of British Airways contingency plans. British Airways has also penned out a flight schedule for the main strike on March 27.
For more information on affected British Airways flights, see BA website.
The Root Of The Problem
The dispute between Unite and British Airways has been ongoing for over a year with the most recent strike in December being called off by a court decision that ruled that strike ballot was illegal.
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British Airways employee union claims the strike is necessary again to protest extended work hours and crew levels being slashed. Unite says this will inevitably damage customer service and hit British Airways brand.
The union says management rejected the changes that Unite suggested.
BA cabin crew offered changes to pay and working practices that would have made savings of more than £100 million for British Airways, but the company rejected these proposals and repeatedly walked away from talks while introducing provocative changes.
BA has imposed changes, is refusing to negotiate openly and fairly and is intimidating its workforce.
More Strikes: RMT Union, Public And Commercial Services Union
Meanwhile, British rail workers are going on strike too. RMT union announced that signaling workers have voted for industrial action over the Easter. Rail workers are protesting job cuts and extended weekend hours. The Public and Commercial Services union will also have its members striking on March 24.
This latest series of strikes is a nightmare for Gordon Brown's Labour government that is facing general election on May 6. Brown was doing well in opinion polls in the end of February, lagging Tory leader David Cameron by only two percentage points, according to TimesOnline. But, the three looming strikes can now cause severe inconveniences to voters and sink Brown's approval ratings.
“But these strikes are going to hit consumers hard. Rail and air travel being disrupted will cause a real feeling of anger and it is bound to be taken out on us.”
Brown has already said that the strike is in no one's interest, and called for the strike to be ended immediately.