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BA union sets strike dates

Thousands of British Airways passengers may have to rebook their flights after the union members decide not to go to work for seven days later this month.

Thousands of British Airways passengers may have to rebook their flights after the union representing most of its cabin crew announced a series of strikes yesterday. Unite said its members would not go to work for seven days later this month after it failed to reach agreement with BA over pay and staffing levels. "Strikes are planned for March 20, 21 and 22 and further on March 27, 28, 29 and 30," said Len McCluskey, Unite's assistant general secretary and the lead negotiator with the airline. "There will be no strikes over the Easter period, as we already promised, but further industrial action will be called to take place after April 14 if the dispute has not been resolved."

Last November, BA reduced the number of cabin crew on long-haul flights and announced a two-year pay freeze. A strike had been planned over Christmas, but was blocked by the High Court over balloting irregularities. In an automated phone message, BA said it was "extremely disappointed" and that it was "very sorry for the stress and disruption Unite's decision will cause". A BA customer service operator said: "The majority of our flights will not be affected by this strike.

"We will be informing the passengers whose flights will be affected by this strike and rebooking them on other flights." He added that some passengers could be transferred to other airlines. Customers are advised to check two days before any flights scheduled for the days of the strike, either online at ba.com/strike or by calling the 24-hour hotline: 8000 441 3322. @Email:rghazal@thenational.ae

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