Reply To: BA strike: the media battle

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Unite has also released the following:

“Where’s Willie?” – Unite urges BA boss to come out of bunker

Unite today (Monday) urged BA chief executive Willie Walsh to come out of hiding and agree to talks to settle the cabin crew dispute which has grounded most of the airline’s operation over the last three days.

Unite Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley visited picket lines around Heathrow Airport today and addressed striking union members, reaffirming that the union remained ready for talks at any time before the next strikes, scheduled to run for four days from Saturday March 27, commence.

However, the union has yet to receive any positive response from the company. Mr Woodley said: “Willie Walsh’s silence is deafening. Where’s Willie? He has not been seen or heard from today while his business grinds to a halt.

“BA needs to wake up and understand that a dispute like this can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement. Cabin crew have sent the company the most powerful message over the last three days that they will not be cowed or bullied into accepting industrial dictat. I am proud of their solidarity and resilience, and the support they have given to this dispute, which none of them wanted.

“I would like to hear BA’s board justify spending millions on a floundering strike-breaking operation when they turned down an offer of more than £55 million in cost savings from their own cabin crew.

“We estimate that BA may have spent as much as £18 million on leasing airplanes over the last three days. And it is beyond dispute that most of its long-haul flights have been cancelled, and most of those which have taken off are half-empty or completely passenger-free.

“This is the economics of the madhouse, which can only lead to suspicions that there is another, union-busting, agenda at work here. Trying to break Unite will break BA’s bank account. That is why it is time to talk. Pick up the phone, Willie.”

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