British Airways will ground all planes

British Airways tail fins are seen at Heathrow Airport in London.

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: British Airways put out the word out this morning: Ahead of a threatened strike by its largest cabin crew union, it's canceling hundreds of flights next week. Marketplace's Stephen Beard has details in London.


STEPHEN BEARD: BA says it's planning to scrap more than 700 flights in and out of London's two main airports on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

The airline said it will take this action because of a threatened strike by cabin crew.

BA says it still wants to negotiate a settlement but it wanted to give its passengers an early warning that flights are now likely to be canceled.

Hundreds of thousands of travelers could be affected.

The dispute with the union revolves around the number of sick days cabin crew are allowed to take off.

The union claims staff are being forced to work while unwell.


SCOTT JAGOW: The airline's chat with the Transport and General workers broke off this morning, but British Airways CEO Willie Walsh pleaded with the union to come back.
WILLIE WALSH: We value the work that our cabin crew do. I think they're fantastic, I think they do a fantastic job for us. This action, this strike action by the T&G is unjustified, it is unnecessary. We need to sort this out. We need to talk.

OK, that's one side. Here's the other, the head of the T&G, Tony Woodley:

TONY WOODLEY: It's one thing removing malingerers and stopping abuses. It's another thing seeing innocent men and women disciplined or even sacked unfairly. And that's why so many thousands and thousands of men and women cabin crew, decent people, have felt that's enough enough.

As for all the decent people flying British Airways, the airline has set up an extra call center to handle passenger questions.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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