28 JUN 2010: If you want it, here it is / Come and get it / Make your mind up fast / If you want it anytime I can give it / But you better hurry 'cause it may not last. / British Airways’ CEO Willie Walsh might well be humming that old Beatles standard. After 18 months of acrimonious negotiations, passenger frustration with strikes and watching money vaporize like a jet trail in the sky, Walsh has come up with a unique plan. In a bold move, that certainly does not bode well for the union, he plans to recruit 1,250 new crew within the next year and up to 5,000 over the next decade for what BA is calling their “Mixed Fleet.”

More than 25,000 hopefuls lined up to take on strike-breaking jobs as cabin managers and crew at about half the salary of existing staff.

Unlike current staff scheduling, Mixed Fleet personnel will work on both short and long-haul routes.

In an interesting set up, apparently to avoid name calling and accusations of being ‘scabs’, the new recruits will not work with existing unionized crew, operating instead as what could virtually be a separate airline within an airline.

The new crews will be paid 18,000 ($28,050) to 25,000 ($38,960) a year instead of the current UK industry leading 25,000 to 35,000 ($54,544).

The airline has said it is confident that the positions will be over-subscribed.

Not surprisingly, Unite the union representing about 80% of BA’s crew, has condemned the move.

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Jen Savedra

Jen Savedra is the founder and editor in chief of Travel Industry Today with  a long career and considerable experience in various sectors of travel and tourism. She is dedicated to producing a publication that differentiates itself from the pack. One that pulls no punches, and - along with being a forum for news and ideas - is easy to navigate and always fun to read.

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