It now seems, according to the Unite union, that only 216 volunteers have offered to replace British Airways’ cabin crew in the event of industrial action. The trade union went on to claim that the program to retrain employees to replace the stewards during industrial action would replace less than 2 percent of the carrier’s cabin crew.
The union went on to say that these plans by the airline are nothing more than a “scab labor” drive. The strike ballot, which opened just earlier this week, is set to close as of February 22nd. Thus, the earliest possible strike could come as of March 1st. The good news for both British Airways and its passengers is that the union has ruled out an Easter Day walkout.
Len McCluskey, the Unite assistant general secretary, said that with a cabin crew of 13,500, he did not think that British Airways was seriously thinking of trying to replace them with inexperienced individuals. At least he wanted to know if British Airways really thought that they were going to be able to.
British Airways has announced that they do seek volunteers that are ready to go through a basic training course to keep a handful of their 650 daily flights going in case of a strike. The people that go through the course would act as cabin crew members.
The airline did go on to decline to disclose just how many volunteers it had actually found. However, it did say that their plan was to keep as many flights operational as possible under the current circumstances.