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British Airways cabin crew to stage 16-day strike

British Airways cabin crew plan to stage an unprecedented 16-day strike from July 1 at the start of the peak summer travel season, amid a long-running dispute over pay and benefits.

Members of the Unite union working for British Airways’ Mixed Fleet operation will stop work from July 1 to 16.

The union says it will also take legal action against Britain’s largest airline over what it says is the “blacklisting” of staff who have taken part in the previous 26 days of walkout.

“The refusal by British Airways bosses to meaningfully consider our compromise offer is deeply disappointing,” said Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary.

“A resolution to this long-running dispute was within the grasp of British Airways, but instead of grabbing that opportunity, bosses rebuffed it. It now means British Airways faces an entirely avoidable two week strike and prolonged legal action on behalf of over 1,400 mixed cabin crew.”

British Airways said that the proposed strike was “extreme and completely unnecessary. We had reached a deal on pay, which Unite agreed was acceptable.”

The pay dispute began late last year. Unite says the average Mixed Fleet employee earns £16,000 ($20,447) annually.

British Airways does not accept that figure, and says that the lowest-paid full-time member of cabin crew earned over £21,000 ($27,067) last year.

As with the 2010 walkout, striking cabin crew have had their travel concessions withdrawn, deepening the rift between the adversaries.

The airline reassured passengers that it would continue to fly all customers to their destinations.

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