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BA cabin crew to stage new four-day strike over pay

British airways aircraft Image copyright Getty Images

British Airways cabin crew will stage a fresh four-day strike from 17 February in their dispute over pay, the Unite union has said.

The announcement comes one day before BA staff finish their most recent strike action.

Action by BA cabin crew earlier this year resulted in the cancellation of some flights.

But BA said it had flown all customers to their destinations during previous strikes and it would do this again.

Unite said BA was paying "poverty" rates and asked for talks at the conciliation service, Acas.

Offer rejected

The strike, by 2,900 members of Unite, is in pursuit of higher pay for members of the so-called "mixed fleet".

Unite says that since 2010, all new British Airways cabin crew employees join what is called "'mixed fleet", where despite promises that pay would be 10% above the market rate, basic pay starts at just £12,192 with £3 an hour flying pay.

Unite estimates that, on average, mixed fleet cabin crew earn £16,000 a year, including allowances.

BA has disputed these figures and says that annual pay is above £21,000 a year.

A pay rise of 2% in the first year, and 2.5% in years two and three, was rejected firmly by Unite members after it was tabled shortly before Christmas.

The union said that the increase would have left staff only £20 a month better off after tax.

Thousands 'wasted'

A BA spokesman said: "Our pay offer for mixed fleet crew is consistent with the deal accepted by 92% of colleagues across the airline, most of whom are represented by Unite.

"It also reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure that rewards for mixed fleet remain in line with those for cabin crew at our airline competitors."

Unite has criticised BA for chartering aircraft to cover for striking cabin crew rather than resolving the problem.

Unite national officer, Oliver Richardson, said: "British Airways should focus on addressing poverty pay in its mixed fleet, rather than continuing to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds on chartering in aircraft to cover striking workers.

BA created the mixed fleet of cabin staff in the wake of a bitter and long-running dispute over pay and conditions for all cabin staff that ran from 2009 to 2011.

They fly only out of Heathrow, and on both short-haul and long-haul routes, but not in the same planes as colleagues on the legacy conditions of employment.

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