The long-running dispute between British Airways (BA) and the airline’s London Heathrow-based “mixed fleet” cabin crew shows no sign of being resolved, with the July 6 announcement of a further two weeks of strike action.

From December 2016, mixed fleet cabin crew—who operate both short- and long-haul services—have held a series of increasingly long strikes and are in the middle of a cessation of work from July 1-16. The new strike will start July 19, just three days after the current one ends, and continue until Aug. 1.

BA said July 6 it is running 99.5% of scheduled services, and will merge a small number of long-haul flights and accommodate passengers on other services.

BA will also wet-lease nine Airbus A320s—from fellow oneworld alliance member Qatar Airways—to keep services running. According to BA, Qatar would again be operating “a small number of short-haul flights on our behalf” during the next dispute.

Unite has launched legal action against the UK government’s decision to allow the lease of the Qatari aircraft, arguing the use of the aircraft and cabin crew breaches European regulations.

Ironically, the original cause of the dispute—pay—has now largely been resolved by union negotiators. The Unite union says staff has not gone back to work because of sanctions being taken against strikers, including removal of staff travel concessions.

“We had reached a deal with Unite on pay, which the union said was acceptable,” BA said in a statement July 6. “They should call off this unnecessary strike and allow their members to vote on the pay increase.”

A BA spokeswoman added the company had appealed to staff early in the dispute to keep working. “We said ‘Please come to work, we will support you. If you don’t, we will be removing for a short period of time things such as bonuses and staff travel [concessions].’”

She said the airline wanted the legal action to be resolved by the courts and for staff to return to work in the interim.

Alan Dron