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British Airways strike talks go down to the wire

Talks to avert tomorrow's British Airways strike broke up yesterday evening without agreement although both parties will be attending a meeting this morning to see if a last-minute compromise can be reached. This is literally the last throw the dice from the British Airways management and the Unite union with the UK government crossing its fingers that a strike can be averted as well as the almost inevitable public backlash against the Labour Party.

Even though British Airways has made contingency plans for tomorrow's strike, with estimates that 65% of flights will still fly, there is no doubt that both financially and from a reputation point of view any strike action would be detrimental to the company's long-term future. In what is literally a case of "who blinks first" it looks as though this high risk game of poker will go to the last hand although there are outside hopes of an agreement today.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh would not comment this morning on suggestions that the parties are closer than they have been for some time but the fact that further talks have been scheduled for 9 AM must itself be a good sign.

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