Thousands of British Airways (BA) passengers will find out today whether their flights have been cancelled ahead of next week’s cabin crew strike.
Hundreds of flights are expected to be cancelled because of the two-day strike which begins on Tuesday.
The walkout is over sickness absence, pay and staffing and follows the breakdown of talks between BA and the Transport and General Workers Union last night.
Two further three day strikes are also planned, beginning on 5 February and 12 February.
BA’s Chief Executive Willie Walsh said: ‘We are bitterly disappointed that the T&G has refused to respond positively to the serious proposals we have made on the union’s two crucial issues.
‘We have accepted the T&G’s proposal to improve the application of the absence management policy. We have put forward a solution on pay as part of our upcoming wage round. The T&G has rejected our position out of hand.
‘It has chosen instead to confirm a 48-hour stoppage for next week that will wreck the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of customers.’
But the union laid the blame for the collapse of the talks firmly at the airline’s door. Its deputy general secretary, Jack Dromey, said: ‘We are dismayed and saddened that BA failed to grasp this genuine opportunity.
‘The company has failed to hear the voice of common sense. This is a sad day for passengers and cabin crew alike.’
British Airways will announce today details of its flight schedule for the first period of industrial action.
The airline says it will ‘publish a comprehensive policy that will cover re-booking, re-routing and refund options for cancelled flights.’
Customers concerned about their travel plans can call the airline’s free telephone number 0800 727 800 or visit the BA website.