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Flights back on as BA strike is called off

Last minute talks avert industrial action

British Airways is today reinstating flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports after a planned two-day strike by thousands of its cabin crew was called off.

BA said all long-haul flights from both airports will go ahead and it will run as many domestic and European flights as possible.

Most BA customers due to travel today or Wednesday will already have made alternative arrangements as the company had cancelled flights because of the planned industrial action by cabin crew.

But a deal was finally agreed after more than 120 hours of talks between the company and the Transport and General Workers Union.

BA’s chief executive Willie Walsh and the union’s general secretary Tony Woodley appeared alongside each other outside a central London hotel to announce an agreement on sickness absence, pay, staffing and pensions.

Fair policy

Cabin crew had complained that under a new sickness absence policy they were forced to report for duty even when they were ill.

Union officials said they were now happy that the policy, introduced 18 months ago, would be implemented fairly and staff would not feel obliged to go to work if they were sick.

BA said it had to take action after the average number of sick days taken by cabin crew grew to 22. That figure has now been cut to 12 although it’s still higher than the UK average of seven.

The airline is posting details on its website on which flights will operate.

BA passengers should call a free phone number, 0800 727800, or log onto the airline’s website, ba.com, to check which flights will run from Heathrow and Gatwick for the rest of the week.

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