It looks more likely than ever that British Airways staff will cause horrible holiday misery for many thousands of British and other vacationers this christmas. Union sources are quoting that more than 12,000 staff may walk out over the christmas holidays, beginning 21 December 2009. See our previous article on the BA christmas holiday strike.
Talks attempting to avert the strike came to a halt last week. This of course means that British Airways, an airline already struggling to survive a brutal decline in the travel market, is now ever more likely to face bankruptcy or being broken up. It's in this climate that plans to lay off 1,200 workers is causing knock on effects for the traveling public. The airline also wants to cut the number of cabin crew from 15 to 14 on all long-haul flights, and freeze pay for two years.
Should BA staff go ahead and strike, it's one more reason for both business and leisure travelers to avoid the airline after a year of strikes and other problems with flights. Ironically, this means that the plans for industrial action are more likely than not to ensure further staff reductions now and in the future, the very thing the union is attempting to avoid.
Travelers that currently are slated to fly on BA from 21 December are well advised to find alternative flights, should it be possible. Those traveling through especially London's Heathrow Airport should also make sure to leave extra time, as it promises to be even more chaotic than usual this holiday season.
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Update: The strike has just been voted through by the union, according to BBC News. Looks like Christmas 2009 could be a bad one for travel.
Jack on 14 December, 2009