British Airways attacks Unite as it appeals for volunteers ahead of strikes

British Airways’ (BA) chief executive has sent an internal memo to staff attacking union Unite for being “cynical and calculating”, ahead of 20 forecast days of strikes due to begin next week.

Willie Walsh said Unite had repeatedly moved the goalposts and was “not interested in settling this dispute”. He called on staff to volunteer to help keep BA in the skies.

Members of Unite are set to walk out on 18-22 May, 24-28 May, 30 May-3 June, and 5-9 June.

During the last series of airline strikes earlier this year, BA attracted about 1,000 volunteers to help it keep key services running.

In a separate letter to BA frequent flyers, reported in the Daily Mail,Walsh said union activists were out to “destroy” the airline.

“Unite officials continue to show a callous disregard for our customers,” he said. “A small minority act as if they want to destroy BA and the jobs of thousands of their colleagues. And just when the UK economy needs help to get back on its feet, Unite will deal it another blow.”

The disruption by BA’s 12,000 cabin crew is in response to a bitter row over pay and working conditions. The union is angry that Walsh has also insisted he will remove the travel perks of striking staff and take 55 staff to disciplinary following the first round of strike action in late March.

BA insists it has offered the unions a “very fair” offer.

The airline recorded losses of £400m last year.

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