This week sees the return to the negotiation table for chiefs of both rail and airline organisations.

The mission is to ward off the potential of industrial action in the lead-up to this summer’s Football World Cup in South Africa, where unprecedented travel demand is placing high levels of pressure of travel operators to meet customer needs.

The Unite union, which represents the embattled British Airways cabin crew members, will this week table a new offer to the company for consultation. Should this new offer be rejected, it is likely that a third round of strikes will be announced, just days after the huge backlog of passengers from the Iceland volcanic ash cloud has begin to be cleared.

Separate talks will also take place this Wednesday and Thursday between the RMT union and Network rail over the train operators proposed changes to working conditions for signal operators and maintenance staff. Earlier this month, a proposed strike – the first for 16 years – was blocked by the High Court, over irregularities in the balloting process. The union has vowed to conduct a further round of polls and has stated it will begin new strikes as soon as possible.

Industry insiders are concerned that the RMT will call for strikes during the first week of the FIFA World Cup, which begins on June 11. With the forthcoming election in May, such action would represent a significant hurdle for the new government.