BA crew Christmas strikes suspended

A British Airways Airbus A380 comes in through the fog to land at Heathrow AirportImage copyright
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Planned strikes by British Airways cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day have been suspended, the Unite union has said.

Employees were due to walk out in a row over pay and conditions.

The union said 4,500 workers employed on so-called “Mixed Fleet” contracts – who have joined since 2010 – were on lower pay than other staff.

Talks at conciliation service Acas have led to a revised offer which will be put to a ballot of union members.

The airline said it welcomed the move.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “We now have a new offer from the company which we will put to our members. The two day strike over Christmas and Boxing Day is now suspended.”

“It will be for our members now to decide if British Airways has done enough to meet their concerns.”

Analysis: BBC industry correspondent John Moylan

With strikes called this week involving railways, the post office, airlines and baggage handlers, unions have been accused of coordinating industrial action.

Len McCluskey of the Unite union denies this.

But there’s little doubt that the threat of disruption during the key Christmas getaway period brought long running disputes involving British Airways and Swissport to a head.

On Tuesday Swissport upped its pay offer rather than face strikes on Friday and Saturday this week.

But BA always insisted it would run a full service despite the strikes. And it’s revised offer was not deemed good enough for Unite’s reps to recommend it to members.

Four days of strike action have now been averted. But with inflation expected to pick up next year, expect many more pay disputes in 2017.

Mr McCluskey told the BBC that “Innocent members of the public always suffer when there’s a dispute.

“Any dispute is only brought about because there is a failure between management and the industrial relations within that company.”

The union had said earnings for Mixed Fleet staff were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 but, in reality, started at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay.

Unite had earlier said that half of Mixed Fleet staff had taken second jobs to make ends meet.

Some had even said they had to sleep in cars between flights, because they could not afford the petrol to get home.