British Airways CEO wants rapid strike deal


The head of British Airways said today the coming week would be crucial for the airline as it meets with unions in an attempt to avoid more potentially crippling strikes at its main London base.

"Next week the future of BA is in the hands of the negotiators, including me, of the unions and the management," BA Chief Executive Mr Rod Eddington told BBC television.

"Clearly it's important for all of us that we find a rapid and sensible conclusion... We can't allow (a shutdown) to happen. We have got to find a negotiated settlement."

The unions have demanded a meeting with Mt Eddington, who has agreed to meet the Transport and General Workers Union tomorrow and Amicus on Tuesday. BA has also said both sides agreed to resume talks with the independent arbitrator on Tuesday.

Mr Eddington said the strike was a "real setback" for BA, which has made the most radical changes over the past two years of any European network carrier, slashing more than 10,000 jobs as it tries to lower its historically high cost base.

"It's two years' work undone in some ways, not completely undone (but) clearly it's a real setback for us."