20-Oct-2010 12:12 PM

BA ‘won't back down’; conflict emerges within Unite

British Airways CEO Willie Walsh stated BA “will not back down” from the ongoing cabin crew dispute and is prepared to run a near-full service if another strike goes ahead, asserting that the airline has a "very robust" contingency plan (Sky News, 19-Oct-2010). Mr Walsh stated that it was “entirely” the union’s fault an agreement has not yet been reached.

Meanwhile, a Unite leadership candidate, Les Bayliss, criticised the union’s handling of the issue after a public backlash against the union after staging strikes over Christmas and summer travel periods. Mr Bayliss stated that the feud has “lowered our [Unite’s] standing and reputation. We need make sure it never happens again.”

Unite joint leader, Tony Woodley, has labelled Mr Bayliss’ comment a “disgrace”, stating they had made the chances of ending the year-long row more difficult (Harrow Observer, 19-Oct-2010). Mr Bayliss is one of four candidates standing for election as general secretary of Unite, with voting starting this weekend.

British Airways: "We should have faced up to these challenges 10 years ago … In the past I have seen managers and businesses ignore issues and back down in the face of industrial action. We are not going to do that." Willie Walsh, CEO. Source: Sky News, 19-Oct-2010.