Business

BA strike talks adjourned until Friday

Unite joint leaders Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson
Image caption Unite's leaders rallied striking BA workers on Wednesday

Talks aimed at resolving the BA cabin crew dispute have been adjourned as the latest strike enters its fourth day.

A total of 241 flights in and out of Heathrow have been cancelled on Thursday out of a scheduled 678.

On Wednesday, BA boss Willie Walsh met leaders of the Unite union, which represents BA cabin crew, in a new attempt to reach agreement.

Discussions between the two sides lasted for over six hours and are expected to resume on Friday.

Earlier, Unite's Tony Woodley said "it will not be easy" to reach a settlement.

Although BA maintains that it is meeting its target of flying 70% of passengers to their destinations, the strike has caused disruptions.

On Wednesday, 246 flights were cancelled, while more than 200 were cancelled on Tuesday.

BA said it was increasing its flight schedule for Unite's next threatened five-day strike, which - should no deal emerge from this latest set of negotiations - is due to start on Sunday.

Image caption The next five-day strike is due to start on Sunday

The carrier said that throughout the current strike it would be operating more than 70% of long-haul flights from Heathrow and more than 55% of short-haul flights.

Previous negotiations between the two sides broke down over the weekend after protesters from the Socialist Workers Party stormed the building they were in.

As a result, the location of the current round of talks is being kept secret.

Mr Woodley said Saturday's meeting was the first time that he had "genuinely thought there was a bit of effort going in to settle this".

He also called for BA to restore travel concessions to workers who had previously gone on strike.

BA's chief executive Willie Walsh has previously expressed his frustration that agreements reached with Unite's leadership have been rejected by the Bassa arm of the union, which directly represents BA cabin crew.

As well as the new talks, BA has warned it is planning for a full hearing on the legality of the strike, despite a court ruling in favour of Unite last week.

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