By Ray Fleming

WITH what is being called “the biggest strike in 100 years” looming ever nearer in Britain it was encouraging to learn yesterday that one strike which probably should never have taken place has been settled amicably after more than a year.

The cabin crew of British Airways and the airline's management have reached an agreement by which the staff will end its periodical strikes against BA's cost-cutting proposals and in return the airline will reinstate the travel concessions that BA arbitrarily withdrew in an attempt to bully the crews. A new pay deal and agreement on duty rosters have also been reached and a third party arbitration process established to adjudicate on dismissals of some staff during the strike.

A previous management team attempted to introduce cost cutting without adequate consultation and later unwisely tried to use long-established travel concessions as a bargaining chip. A new management led by Chief Executive Keith Williams negotiated with Len McLuskey, the General Secretary of the Unite trade union, to reach the settlement.

Ten thousand cabin crew were consulted on the deal; with a 72 per cent response, the vote was 92 per cent for acceptance. Perhaps with coming trouble in mind Mr McCluskey said yesterday: “I hope this sends a message to employers everywhere that working with your workforce is the only way to secure productive change.”