Protesters disrupt British Airways strike talks

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Negotiations aimed at avoiding three five-day strikes by British Airways cabin crew ended without resolution on Saturday after protesters gate-crashed talks between union leaders and the airline in London.

BA chief Willie Walsh and the Unite union now have just one day of possible talks left to prevent the first strike over cost cutting planned to begin on Monday.

“All we can do is try and pick up the pieces tomorrow,” Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley told Sky News.

“Negotiations haven’t broken down, they have been broken up. We’ve made some progress but there is more to do.”

Police were called to the premises of industrial dispute mediator ACAS after a small group of campaigners forced their way into the building and occupied the floor where negotiations had been ongoing through the afternoon.

The talks had focused on a long-standing dispute over pay and conditions which erupted during the airline’s cost-cutting drive.

Unions are particularly angered by disciplinary action taken by BA against striking staff and the removal of travel perks.

On Friday, BA reported its biggest annual loss since privatization in 1987 due to the recession, bad weather and industrial disputes.

Volcanic ash, drifting from Iceland, also has caused widespread disruption to flights over the last few weeks.

The airline is trying to get a deal with Unite to save 62.5 million pounds ($89.81 million) a year. The union says an agreement had been reached but the removal of perks for striking staff had created a new stumbling block.

The cabin crew won an appeal on Thursday against a court injunction brought in this week to stop the planned walkouts.

The dispute has resulted in seven days of strikes in March which cost the airline 45 million pounds.

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(Reporting by Matt Falloon, editing by Michael Roddy)

Protesters disrupt British Airways strike talks