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Unite rejects imposed British Airways restructure



LONDON – U.K. airline union Unite’s head of aviation criticized British Airways PLC for failing to turn up for talks Wednesday and said if the airline tries to impose permanent restructuring, it could take strike action.

Steve Turner, Unite’s national secretary for aviation, said he was “bemused” British Airways didn’t turn up for talks planned for 0900 GMT. He said the union was mulling its options, which could include industrial action.

Turner said he didn’t approve of ACAS’ involvement as a mediator, adding it was an abuse of the state-funded conciliator and unnecessary.

He said the mediator’s involvement may help push talks forward, but only marginally.

He called BA “opportunistic,” adding the “silver isn’t up for sale.”

Turner said the union had tabled proposals to help the airline save millions of pounds but BA appeared less willing to come to sensible mutually acceptable agreement.

“We need to find a solution but it takes two parties,” he said.

BA declined to comment, but said it stuck by its statements made earlier Wednesday.

Unite represents 27,000 of BA’s 40,000 staff.