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BA faces union backlash

British Airways is facing a backlash from trade unions over proposals to cut 1,700 jobs and freeze the pay of its employees.

Following an announcement from the UK's flagship airline, the Unite union has called on British Airways to re-enter talks or 'risk a serious, drawn-out confrontation'. The warning comes after the airline revealed that from November it would call on 1,000 cabin crew members to take voluntary redundancy and a further 3,000 to go part-time.

Steve Turner, Unite national officer for aviation, was explicit in his condemnation of the airline: "This imposition is completely unacceptable. It is a disgraceful attempt to intimidate workers into accepting poorer contracts. This imposition must be withdrawn. BA must step back from the brink and get back round the table to talk.

"In three days of talks last week at Acas, BA categorically refused to talk about these plans. They conducted themselves in bad faith than and are doing so again now. BA must be under no illusion; Unite will vigorously defend BA's loyal staff and its customer base and will not see standards driven into the ground by this management team.

"BA's continued determination to mimic the no-frills end of the industry will cause despair for customers who pay a premium price and expect a premium service in return. Cabin crew are the heart and soul of that premium service and are dearly valued by the customers for the professionalism and dedication, yet now they are being presented with an impossible choice - cut the service and do more for less, or lose your job."

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October 9, 2009