British Airways and its cabin crew union, Unite, will sit down for emergency talks in the hopes of avoiding a potentially disastrous strike during the upcoming Christmas holiday. The meeting is scheduled to follow a court hearing in which British Airways will ask a court to overturn Unite’s strike ballot. British Airways argues that the ballot included individuals who no longer work for the airline, thus making the ballot invalid.
And while the decision is definitely a positive move, it remains to be seen if either side will budge. The AP reports that “Unite union general secretary Tony Woodley said the union was prepared to call off the strike—but only if BA agreed to suspend its imposition of the new conditions on cabin crew.” British Airways, both in its rhetoric and its move to overturn the strike, seems unlikely to cave.
Caught in the middle, of course, are over a million British Airways customers whose holiday travel plans are suddenly in very real peril. But while these customers are innocent bystanders, they are also their own best chance for avoiding a strike. British Airways cannot afford to lose the revenue tied to these travelers, and Unite—which, of course, is initiating the strike—does not have their sympathy. In short, it’s in no one’s best interest to turn these people into collateral damage, and the potential backlash could be significant enough to postpone a strike.
At any rate, today just got a lot more interesting. I’ll post any updates here as I see them.