London: British Airways PLC and union leaders agreed to meet today for emergency talks as the airline attempts to avert a 12-day strike by cabin crew staff over Christmas.
BA is still pushing ahead with an emergency application for a court injunction to prevent the walkout, which is scheduled to start Monday.
The planned strike, which escalates a bitter dispute over job cuts, pay and working conditions, threatens to ruin travel plans for a million passengers and cost the loss-making airline tens of million pounds (dollars) each day.
And the anticipated chaos for air passengers over the festive season was compounded by an announcement that baggage handlers and check-in staff at Heathrow and Aberdeen airports will hold a series of 48-hour strikes, also beginning on Monday.
Unite union general secretary Tony Woodley said the cabin crew staff were prepared to call off their strike, but only if BA agreed to suspend its imposition of the new conditions on cabin crew.
“Let’s have a pause for peace, and we will call the strike off,” Woodley told BBC television.
Woodley said that BA, which argues the changes to staffing and pay are necessary to ride out its dire financial situation, had already declined a similar offer at talks Friday.