British Airways 'fires' leading union official

BA planes grounded at Heathrow BA's cost-cutting plans have led to disputes with its unions

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A leading union official at BA says he has been sacked by the airline for gross misconduct.

Duncan Holley claims he was fired with immediate effect because he took time off work before Christmas to carry out his union duties.

Mr Holley, who has been secretary of the branch of Unite which represents cabin crew for 12 years, described his dismissal as "politically motivated".

BA said it would not comment on individual disciplinary cases.

Cost-cutting

Unite and BA are in dispute over pay and working conditions and in March cabin crew went on strike.

The airline's cost-cutting plans, which include reducing the number of cabin crew on long-haul flights, lie at the heart of the dispute.

Analysts say BA needs to bring down its costs significantly.

Ash disruption

Meanwhile, the company's latest traffic figures for April highlight the disruption caused by the prolonged eruption of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Passenger numbers were down by 24.5% on the same month last year at 2.1 million passengers.

However, the airline said the underlying traffic volumes continued to show a positive trend, although it said "challenges continue to affect the outlook".

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