Can Willie save the BA brand?

It looks like a fight to the end for BA’s Willie Walsh and the Unite union following BA’s rejection today of Unite’s call for further talks on restoring the cabin crew’s travel perks, which BA removed after the strike earlier in the year.

The next month will also be crunch time for the brand, as Unite goes ahead with its projected 20 days of strikes, starting next week and including the all-important half term at the end of May.

In the future passengers are likely to adopt an ABBA strategy (Anyone But BA) when booking flights if they think that industrial disputes will regularly wreck BA’s schedules.

Walsh has prepared for this. He’s banked plenty of cash to make up for the expected lost revenue, he’s got the City behind him and he’s lined up at least a thousand other BA staff to fill in for the strikers and so keep planes in the air.

He must be pretty confident, given that it’s only the travel perks that are preventing a settlement of the dispute. We’ll soon see if he’s right.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.