British Airways cabin crew suspend Christmas strike

Cabin Crew, employed by British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, walk through Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport on Dec 19, 2016.
Cabin Crew, employed by British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, walk through Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport on Dec 19, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (AFP) - British Airways cabin crew have suspended a two-day strike planned over Christmas, labour union Unite announced on Thursday (Dec 22) after securing a new deal with the airline.

Almost 2,000 British Airways cabin crew, or more than one in seven, were due to walk out on Christmas Day and December 26 (Boxing Day) in a dispute over pay.

Talks between the airline and Unite began on Monday (Dec 19) and the union's general secretary, Len McCluskey, said after four days British Airways had presented a new offer.

"It will be for our members now to decide if British Airways has done enough to meet their concerns," he said in a statement.

"I want to pay tribute to our cabin crew members who have been determined to achieve a negotiated settlement. Their commitment to secure a better deal for all of their colleagues is something we should all admire."

British Airways' offer remains confidential until a postal ballot on the deal by cabin crew, which could take more than a week, a Unite spokesman told AFP.

"We welcome the announcement from Unite that it has called off the strikes scheduled for Christmas Day and Boxing Day," British Airways said in a statement.

The dispute centred around "mixed fleet" cabin crew who joined the firm after 2010 and are paid such low wages some sleep in their cars or take second jobs, according to Unite.