BA ground staff to work as cabin crew during strikes

BA ground staff to work as cabin crew during strikes

British Airlines will retrain scores of baggage handlers and check-in agents to become cabin crew in an attempt to counter further disruption caused by strike action, which is expected to take place from 1 March.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh offered 38,000 staff the opportunity to become “volunteer cabin crew” to aid those unwilling to support the planned industrial action announced by trade union Unite today.

In a statement BA said: “We will continue to put our customers’ interests first. We will provide assistance for those crew who wish to work normally and we will explore all options to enable us to operate the best flying programme possible under the circumstances.”

BA are confident that those who take part in the volunteer scheme will be fully-trained and certified before the possible strikes in March. However, the decision has sparked angry reactions from existing crew, who say the move will not only alarm customers, but undermines the importance of the service they provide.

Over 12,000 are expected to ballot for action over staffing cuts after talks between Unite and BA failed to reach an agreement. It comes just weeks after plans for a 12-day Christmas strike were blocked by a court injunction.

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