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Southwest Air flight attendants join CEO, COO no-confidence vote

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Mr Kelly and Mr Van de Ven "have failed to recognise and adequately fix the operational failures that continue to plague our airline," a union statement said.

[DALLAS] Southwest Airlines Co flight attendants joined pilots and mechanics in calling for the ouster of the discount carrier's top executives after a computer system failure snarled flights.

Leaders of Transport Workers Union Local 556 approved the no-confidence resolution, union President Audrey Stone said Tuesday in an interview. The airline's pilots and mechanics unions announced similar votes on Monday calling for the replacement of chief executive officer Gary Kelly and chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven. The TWU represents 14,500 Southwest employees.

The unions have criticised Mr Kelly for spending billions on stock buybacks instead of plowing the money into updates of the airline's aging computer system, much of which was built in- house. The failure of a router on July 20 led to hundreds of flight cancellations and delays. All three labour groups are in contract talks with the Dallas-based airline.

Mr Kelly and Mr Van de Ven "have failed to recognise and adequately fix the operational failures that continue to plague our airline," a union statement said.

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"Our flight attendants, along with other front-line employees, end up bearing the brunt of these failures."

Southwest stood by a statement issued Monday saying the no-confidence votes were an effort to pressure the airline into meeting demands during contract talks, spokesman Chris Mainz said in an e-mail.

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