BA accused over 'strike-breaker' training plans

British Airways was today accused of trying to rush through a "handful" of workers to try to break any strike by cabin crew involved in a bitter row over jobs, pay and conditions.

Unite, which today started reballoting thousands of its members on industrial action, said the airline had started training just 216 employees to fill in for strikers.



The union said the airline had the support of the Civil Aviation Authority for its plan to train other staff to take the place of cabin crew in the event of a walkout.



Officials claimed that BA was going to "astonishing" lengths to try to "smash" its 13,500 cabin crew.



Len McCluskey, Unite's assistant general secretary, said: "British Airways needs to get real. Even if it pulls out all the stops between now and February, it is still only going to train 216 strike breakers. With a cabin crew of 13,500 does BA seriously think this handful of inexperienced individuals will be able to operate a service?



"BA would be far better channelling its energies into negotiation than pursuing cynical schemes to break its own skilled and professional workforce."



Unite said it understood that BA planned to run nine training courses for strike breakers, beginning today and concluding with a course on February 6, with half of them dedicated to pilots.



One course will cover those who come from other departments within BA but have expired licences to fly, with the firm assuring these workers that it will ensure their flying licences are restored, it was claimed.



Unite said strike breakers will have only four days training covering basic medical training, fire security and knowledge of the aircraft.



Around 120 pilots were planning to cover for striking cabin crew and will still be paid their pilots' salaries, Unite claimed.



Mr McCluskey continued: "There are many serious questions about its strike-breaking effort which BA must answer. How can they guarantee that expired licences to fly will be restored in just a few short weeks? Why are strike breakers being provided with only a few days training, and why pay highly-waged pilots to strike break when BA should be working on finding a solution to this dispute?



"Unite also regards it as extremely concerning that an employer can co-opt a regulator into its efforts to break its workforce. The CAA's duty to this country and its taxpayers is to ensure our aviation sector upholds the highest standards. It is not to conspire in the provision of half-baked courses for wannabe cabin crew."



Members of Unite voted last year to take industrial action and were due to launch a 14-day walkout over Christmas before the airline took legal action to stop the strike.



The new ballot will close on February 22, raising the threat of action from March 1, although the union has ruled out any stoppages over Easter.



Unite has warned the pilots' union Balpa that it was not acceptable for it to take a "neutral" stance over its members being used as possible strike-breakers.



BA declined to comment on Unite's claims.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss