Christmas of discontent: Threat of strikes loom

British Airways cabin crew haved voted in favour of strikes in a dispute over pay

"Unite is urging British Airways to return to the negotiating table and engage with the union in a meaningful way otherwise over 2,500 Unite members who crew long and short-haul routes to dozens of destinations could go on strike".

BRITISH Airways have branded its staff who plan to strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day "heartless". Earnings were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 ($26,318 to $31,330) but in reality start at just over £12,000 ($15,038), plus £3 ($3.75) an hour flying pay.

"Unite said it was consulting reps over potential strike dates, with the union compelled to give BA seven days notice of strikes".

"We have been clear with the PPU leadership team that this action is unnecessary and we remain prepared to recognise the PPU once we have agreed the terms for voluntary recognition", its statement said.

The spokesperson said that within the upcoming 72 hours, they will release further details into this inquiry, and that British Airways will seek to fulfill its objectives in making sure all travelers arrive to their desire destinations so as not to destroy their Christmas holidays.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This is clearly a positive development".

Members of Unite employed by Swissport will also walk out on December 23 and 24 at Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Doncaster, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Leeds/Bradford, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton and Stansted. Members of the PPU union will "work to contract " from December 23. However, Unite said it was hoping talks conducted along with Acas could avoid the dispute from going ahead. "We are confident that our members' case is extremely strong, and that fairness will prevail".

In related news, Virgin Atlantic pilots on Friday voted to work to rule from December 23 in a dispute over sole recognition of their union, the latest round of industrial action to threaten Christmas holiday air travel.

Postal and rail workers are also planning industrial action in a Christmas of discontent.

"BA pay rates are indefensible and the crew are at breaking point", Unite official Matt Smith said in a statement, adding that a significant number of members have had to take second jobs and that many go to work unfit to fly because they can't afford to take time off.

Postal workers from the Communication Workers Union will strike for five days, including three days of walkouts by staff in Crown offices - larger branches typically in high streets.