British Airways cabin crew to strike work for four days from next Wednesday

Around 2,900 British Airways cabin crew will strike work over a pay dispute to ''pile pressure'' on the airline which, it said paid poverty wages to cabin crew. The industrial action called by members of the Unite union would extend over four days starting next Wednesday.

The strike would come on top of four days of strikes to begin Friday. This year, had so far seen 11 days of strike action, including six days last week. But last week, executives ruled out the possibility of negotiations.

Recruits who all join the mixed fleet draw £12,000 as starting salary but the airline claims crew earn a minimum of £21,000 after allowances and bonuses. According to Unite, cabin crew earn £16,000 a year on average.

Unite said the airline was wet leasing aircraft from other airlines to cover for the striking staff, which it claimed cost the airline between £2,000 and £3,000 an hour.

Unite's regional officer Matt Smith said, ''Our estimates put the amount of money British Airways has spent on defending the dispute and poverty pay at £1 million.

''This is money which the airline has taken a conscious decision to give to other airlines rather than addressing pay levels which are forcing hardworking mixed fleet cabin crew into financial hardship.''

Meanwhile, British Airways said all its customers would fly to their destinations during the strikes from Friday.

The airline said in a statement, "To enable all customers to travel we will be merging a very small number of flights at Heathrow - about 1% of total flights planned. We are contacting customers on those flights with the options available to them."

"We will publish more details over the weekend in relation to further strikes called by mixed fleet Unite for February 22-25, but as in previous strikes all customers will fly to their destinations."