British Airways cabin crew representatives are demanding suspension of newly-introduced terms and conditions as the price for calling off their planned strike, despite the carrier's insistence that it will not reverse the plan.
The carrier is taking legal action to try to block the 12-day strike, a decision which has drawn condemnation from members of the Unite union.
Unite has accused BA chief executive Willie Walsh of practising "madhouse macho management" and pursuing a policy of "imposition and confrontation, or even litigation" rather than negotiation.
The union says it offered, on 11 December, to suspend any industrial action if BA agreed to suspend the cabin crew measures brought in last month.
BA has already stated firmly that it will not withdraw the changes, and is not prepared to exempt one sector of its workforce from necessary actions to save costs. It is seeking a court injunction to halt industrial action.
Unite claims that an industrial dispute will cost the airline "vastly more money" than would be saved by the changes to cabin crew working conditions.