- The Washington Times - Monday, January 18, 2010

LONDON — A union representing British Airways cabin crews said Monday it will hold a strike vote in a dispute over pay, job security and working conditions.

The Unite union said it would continue to negotiate with the airline while the vote by 13,000 cabin crew goes ahead starting next week.

Cabin crew members represented by the Unite union voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking in December, but the airline won a court order to prevent a walkout.

“In notifying the company of this, I have reiterated that we want talks to continue and that the union is prepared to meet anyplace, any time, to try and reach an agreement which addresses the real concerns of BA’s skilled, loyal and professional employees while giving the company the savings it needs to stay airborne,” said Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite.

British Airways said in a statement that it was prepared for more negotiations but that the union’s decision “calls into question its good faith in the negotiations we took part in throughout last week.”

“If Unite eventually proceeds to an actual strike, we will continue to put our customers’ interests first. We will provide assistance for those crew who wish to work normally, and we will explore all options to enable us to operate the best flying program possible under the circumstances,” the airline said.

“We will not allow Unite to ruin this airline, and we believe we have the support of our customers and the vast majority of our staff in that objective.”

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