BA faces legal action over curbs on strikers

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Trade union Unite is taking legal action against British Airways (BA) over the removal of travel concessions for staff who went on strike in a long-running industrial dispute, it said Monday.

Unite is alleging that BA's action breaches European human rights legislation and was taken without the proper disciplinary procedures being followed.

"Unite the union is to mount a legal challenge to British Airways' decision to remove staff travel concessions from cabin crew who took lawful strike action in the course of the union's dispute with the company this year," it said in a statement.

In response, BA pledged to "defend our position vigorously".

"Staff travel is a non-contractual perk that the company can withdraw at its discretion," the airline said in a statement.

"Our cabin crew knew that if they took part in strike action they would lose their staff travel perks."

Earlier this month, BA cabin crew rejected the airline's latest offer to end their dispute, which initially centred on a row over pay.

After broad agreement was reached on this issue, the focus of the row then switched to the heavily discounted flights which are available to cabin crew.

In May BA announced a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds (626 million euros, 805 million dollars).

It was hammered by the global economic downturn and is to merge with Spanish rival Iberia in a bid to return to profitability.

© 2010 AFP

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