Open Jaw: 'Walsh wants to crush the unions'
Where readers bite back
Saturday 27 March 2010
British Airways' cabin-crew dispute
Mr Calder, do you work for BA management? I suggest you stick to travel writing. Your anti-worker and anti-union bias is disgraceful and offensive. I'd love to know how much you are paid and what car you drive, you idiot. For your information Willie Walsh [BA chief executive] helped ruin Aer Lingus and now tries the same capitalist boot-boy tactics at BA. Perhaps you have shares in some low-cost carriers you seem to like so much?
Simon Leggett, Dublin
Simon Calder has no car, but rides a Brompton bicycle. The only airline in which he owns shares is BA, to qualify for a 10 per cent discount on flights. He contributes to the airline's 'High Life' magazine, and previously worked as a cleaner in the airline's offices and on board aircraft at Gatwick
Michael O'Leary [chief executive of Ryanair] appeared on TV, shouting at us to get back to work as though he was our boss. Surely as he is wet-leasing his aircraft [chartering them to BA] he would want us to stay on strike? I smell an Irish low-cost conspiracy here. The only ones fighting to save our airline as a premium brand in the global marketplace are cabin crew.
A MEMBER OF BA CABIN CREW FOR OVER 20 YEARS
The best outcome is that BA goes to the wall, and the market takes up the slack, with other carriers offering better service and value for money. Virgin Atlantic and easyJet can fly the flag.
BA is all about corporate raiding: greed, and screwing the passengers and staff. It is about a man who wants to take on the unions and crush them, using claims that BA needs to save money due to competition against low-cost carriers. BA has spent way too much time and effort persecuting a worker for wearing a small cross, spending millions on adverts in the wrong places, making false claims that they are the "world's favourite airline" whilst losing sight of their core revenue stream: the passenger. BA wants to make itself a Ryanair-type product where there are no staff around, everything is automated, no human contact apart from limited contact on flights. They want you to pay for food, bags, check in, calling a high-rate revenue-generating number to make a booking, etc. In that case BA needs to cut out most of the highly paid, useless "managers" as well.
BA has not used the "world's favourite airline" slogan for some years; the airline's UK reservations line, 0844 493 0787, is a local-rate number
Roar terror in Zambia
Christina Patterson's story was beautiful and vividly written. I could almost picture it as though I was there with her. The thrill is just indescribable – I love the wild.
"DOTA OF AFRICA"
South Downs wildlife
In last Saturday's Travellers' Guide to the South Downs, you said that "reed bunting and hen harriers can be found in wetland areas such as Pulborough Brooks". In fact, hen harriers are very uncommon here. And reed buntings, whilst resident, are often difficult to find. Throughout the year there are scores of birds which are much easier to see and hear. For details, you could see my newly published book Birdwatching at Pulborough Brooks through the Seasons (£9.99), available through sbpublications.co.uk
David Golds, Pulborough Brooks
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