London: British Airways (BA) flights to and from India are likely to be affected by a planned 12-day strike by cabin crew over the Christmas period.
The British Airways said it was exploring “all options” to cope with the impact of the strike, but millions of holiday-makers are expected to face disruptions and the prospect of having journeys cancelled.
The airline said it urgently needed to cut costs to overcome its dire financial situation.
In November, it revealed it had lost £292 million, and would need to cut 1,200 jobs.
In the ballot for strike action held by trade union Unite, BA’s cabin crew voted nine to one in favour of strikes from 22 December over job cuts and staffing levels.
BA insisted it will not revise its decision to reduce cabin crew numbers, which is at the heart of the dispute. The strikes are set to begin on 22 December and continue until 2 January.
British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh called the strike “senseless”.
He said: “It is very sad that [the union] are seeking to use the Christmas holiday plans and family reunions of hundreds of thousands of people to try to pursue their case.”
Unite said that BA’s cuts involved imposing “significant contractual changes” on cabin crew employees, resulting in extended working hours, and reduced wages for new starters.
Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said staff wanted to be treated with “dignity and respect”.
“We have taken this decision to disrupt passengers with a heavy heart and we are hoping that the company can still avoid it happening,” he said.