UNITE has cancelled its strike ballot of BA cabin crew stating that a new deal is now on the table, and the dispute could be settled by next week.
Unite officials said that Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, had called off the ballot to hold last minute talks between Unite, British Airways, ACAS and the TUC.
Talks which finished late last Friday are to resume tomorrow.
Yesterday the BASSA cabin crew website was blacked out.
It had on its home page, crossed out, the following words: ‘Dignity, Respect, Justice, a Future’.
Written underneath was: ‘Where will your next cross be . . .’ with a cross marked beside it.
The cabin crew’s union arm BASSA will not be a party to the talks or the negotiations.
BA boss Walsh said that after 22 days of strikes, the Unite union and Woodley ‘would like to bring this to an end’, and further that he could do business with Woodley but not with Bassa.
Earlier the Bassa website had carried a branch statement, which said: ‘A new cabin crew ballot for industrial action was to be announced. Stop press. Stop press… We had hoped confirmation of this would be live on the BBC 1 Andrew Marr show as close to 10am 10/10/10 as was possible. However, circumstances have changed, possibly for the better.’
It continued: ‘Unite General Secretary Tony Woodley has taken the decision to defer this announcement.
‘As this hugely significant day approached, last minute talks were again called between Unite, British Airways, ACAS and the TUC. Neither parts of the cabin crew sections of Unite were directly involved.
‘We have been informed that Tony believes that he should be able to conclude a new proposal, with significant changes, by the middle of next week at the latest. We are unable to report to you the details of these changes, as we have not, as yet, seen them.
‘When these are shared with us, we will share them with you, as quickly, as honestly and factually as we can. We share your frustration and can only hope that this unforeseen development will be a positive one.’
More than 80 British Airways cabin crew have been suspended and 13 sacked because of allegations of ‘bullying and intimidation’ incidents relating to their dispute with the airline.
A cabin crew member, who could not give their name for fear of victimisation, told News Line yesterday: ‘I received a couple of emails yesterday with just xxx. I wondered what was going on.
‘I got another text that our announcement on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday was cancelled.
‘Tony Woodley was supposed to announce that we were going to be balloted for more strike action at ten past ten on the tenth of the tenth.
‘I thought “what’s he playing at?” – we had this platform and it was cancelled.
‘I looked up the BASSA website today and it was blacked out. I wondered is this a huge protest.
‘They are trying to annihilate our union, I wondered what is going on.
‘People trusted the union, the silence is bizarre. The union won’t even talk to us.
‘Once we didn’t get the Xmas strike, we should have rethought our strategy.’