BA Boss Willie Walsh Will Crush Strike With £2 Billion Reserve
British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, says that he will use BA's £2 billion reserves to ride out the planned BA cabin crew strike claiming that 70% of flights will go ahead as normal during the walkout by using 1,000 trained volunteer staff to do the work of the striking cabin crew workers.
Unite, the union organising the strike, believe that Walsh is being over optimistic and passengers already booked are canceling flights in large numbers. Unite also raised fears that using volunteer staff could compromise passenger safety.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a planned strike by British Airways cabin crew "deplorable".
In attacking the strike Mr Brown is taking on Unite, Britain's biggest union, who are one of Labour's largest sponsors donating £11 million over the last four years. Mr Brown backed up comments by transport secretary Lord Adonis who said that the planned strikes threatened the future of British Airways as a going concern.
Mr Brown is thought to have telephoned joint general secretary of the Unite union, Tony Woodley, in an attempt to prevent the strike going ahead.
The planned walkouts are scheduled for the Easter holiday period one of BA's busiest and profitable times. The first strike is for 3 days from March 20 with another 4 day walkout from march 27.
Mr Brown said he hoped that there would be developments on Monday that would allow the BA management and unions to return to talks. He said the two sides had been “pretty close to an agreement at the end of last week and then it didn’t work”.