Hero may not be the best choice of words, but he deserves credit for addressing the major strategic issues facing the company which his predecessors failed to do and went for the easier option of dodging the issues.
He has rationalised Head Office numbers, reformed ground staff working practices, addressed the pensions deficit, got TATL ATI with American agreed, and agreed a cross border merger. None of his predecessors did this.
The claim that he is intent on destroying BA is hyperbole.
On the unions, in the past IA at BA has often followed a familiar template whereby the company and the unions would negotiate on an issue and the unions would obtain a strong strike mandate and a compromise reached at the 11th hour, thus, as WW has said himself rewarding unions for calling strike ballots. WW has broken that template. A vote to strike is just that, not a witless means of “sending a message”.
He also deserves credit for his calm dignified stance in the face if relentless goading from BASSA which has ranged from the puerile (“Willie is pants” to the grossly offensive (WW being portrayed as Adolf Hitler).
Martyn, on the point you make about cabin crew rosters, all fleets apart from LHR Worldwide do have a form of bidding system so there is some control over rosters. The company did propose a bidding system for LHR Worldwide but BASSA would not entertain the idea.