March 19th, 2010
08:56 PM ET

British Airways strike to go ahead as talks collapse

British Airways cabin crew members will go ahead with their strikes beginning at midnight Friday (8 p.m Friday ET) after talks between the union and the airline broke down, the airline and union said Friday.

British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh and the joint general secretary of the Unite union, Tony Woodley, met Thursday and Friday in an attempt to avert two planned consecutive weekend strikes. Both men emerged Friday afternoon and announced the effort had failed.

"This company does not want to negotiate," Woodley said of British Airways. "This company wants ultimately to go to war with my members and the union."

Walsh said he "deeply regrets" the inconvenience the strikes will cause to passengers but said the company will still try to operate as many flights as possible. "I am disappointed the union has not been able to see the sense of the proposal we tabled today," Walsh said.

The announcement likely means chaos for thousands of BA passengers wondering whether they can travel during the strikes. British Airways posted lists on its Web site of flights that it plans to operate during the walkout.

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