British Airways Gets Volunteers to Cover Strike

The BBC is reporting that British Airways has said 1,000 staff have volunteered to work as cabin crew if a threatened strike goes ahead. It would also hire up to 23 fully crewed planes from a charter company to help run flights from Heathrow in the event of a strike.

During an internal briefing for staff, BA chief executive Willie Walsh warned he would not reverse cabin crew cuts. The changes were imposed in November without agreement, which triggered the strike threat. Walsh said in his address that the two sides had had only two hours of talks in the past two weeks, which Unite dismissed as "utter nonsense."

BA says that it will be able to operate all flights from London City Airport, and all long-haul services from Gatwick, if a strike is called. A "substantial number" of long- and short-haul flights from Heathrow would still operate.

BA is losing money and needs to cut costs to make a profit. It introduced a number of measures last November, including reducing the number of crew on long-haul flights and bringing in a two-year pay freeze from 2010. It is these measures that have angered BA staff. Last week, they voted in favor of strike action.


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