Gordon Brown condemns BA strike action

The planned strike by British Airways cabin crew is "unjustified" and "deplorable'' and should be called off, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today.

The planned strike by British Airways cabin crew is "unjustified" and "deplorable'' and should be called off, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said yesterday the planned seven days of industrial action could put the future of the airline at risk, calling the walk-outs "totally unjustified''.

The dispute has embroiled the Government in an extraordinary row with the country's biggest union Unite, one of Labour's biggest donors.

Asked in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour whether Lord Adonis was right, Mr Brown said: "I agree. It is the wrong time, it is unjustified, it is deplorable, we shouldn't have a strike.

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"It is not in the company's interest, it is not in the workers' interest and it is certainly not in the national interest.

"I hope that this strike will be called off.''

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Mr Brown said he hoped that there would be developments today which would allow the BA management and unions to return to talks.

"We have got to find a way in which the two sides can get together - the BA management and the BA workforce,'' the Prime Minister told Woman's Hour.

"I hope that things that are in hand today will lead to the sides talking and finding some resolution for this problem, which emerged at the end of last week but had roots in a lot of the negotiations over a long period of time.

"They were pretty close to an agreement at the end of last week and then it didn't work.

"Having said that, the strike is both regrettable and not acceptable, I think it is worthy of effort to try and prevent it.''

Lord Adonis yesterday became the first minister to speak out against the proposed strike.

He appealed to Unite to return to the negotiating table in an attempt to avert the industrial action planned to begin with a three-day strike from next Saturday, followed by a four-day stoppage from the following weekend.

BA is expected to give details today of how flights will be affected if the strikes go ahead to give "more certainty'' to its customers.

Are you expecting to be affected by the strikes? Contact our reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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