Support Marketplace

BA strike may strand holiday travelers

A British Airways flight departs Heathrow Airport in London, England.

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: If your travel plans this holiday season include London, England, things could get interesting for you. Pilots and flight attendants at British Airways have approved a strike starting this coming Tuesday. Today baggage handlers and check-in staff at two major airports in Britain said they would stop work as well, as Christopher Werth reports.


Christopher Werth: The strike could cost British Airways some $50 million a day. Staff voted 9-1 in favor of a walkout. BA has asked Britain's High Court to intervene. It says the ballot unlawfully included votes from staff who'd had already accepted voluntary buyouts.

At issue are BA's plans to freeze pay next year, cut the size of some cabin crews and switch 3,000 staff to part-time work. The airline lost $500 million in the first half of this year and pays its crews roughly double the going rate at its rival, Virgin.

The carrier is still negotiating with the unions. If talks fail, the strike could affect more than a million travelers over the holiday period.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...