Thousands of passengers had their flights cancelled on Saturday as British Airways cabin crew began their first strike in 13 years. The troubled airline said it hoped to keep flights running for up to 49,000 passengers on both today and Sunday despite the walk out over cost cutting.
Normally British Airways handles around 75,000 passengers during a normal day at the weekend. The strike went ahead after talks between the airline and union Unite, which represents cabin crew, collapsed on Friday.
Unite said early indications were that its 12,000 members were supporting the three day walkout. Picket lines were mounted around the perimeters of airports around the country, Telegraph.co.uk reports.
According to a report in Financial Times, Mr Brown has called the industrial action organised by the Unite union, his party's biggest financial backer, "deplorable" and "unjustified" and immediately urged the union to call the strike off.
"The prime minister believes that this strike is in no one's interest and will cause unacceptable inconvenience to passengers," said a spokesman for Mr Brown.
But neither BA nor Unite showed any sign of easing their positions last night. The BA strike is the latest in a wave of industrial unrest that has hit European airlines as they struggle through one of the worst downturns for the aviation industry.
A BA spokeswoman warned today: "There may be a knock-on effect after the strike and we have published details on our website of what passengers can do if their flight is cancelled."
The warning means that BA passengers could face disruption on a continuous basis from today until after the second, planned strike, from March 27 to 30, is over, Scotsman reports.