19 March 2010 | Jake Kanter
British Airways’ (BA) buyers will help keep the airline flying this weekend as cabin crew go on strike.
Speaking to SM, head of procurement Tim Richardson said the department will join forces with other parts of the business to keep services operating during the walk out over the next three days.
“People from across the airline have been volunteering to help BA keep flying and colleagues in procurement are no exception.”
Richardson could not confirm exactly what help purchasers would and could provide but added that volunteers from all parts of BA “will be involved in variety of roles, both on the ground and in the air”.
“There is a real determination to get as many flights away as possible,” he said.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh and the Unite union held last-ditch talks today in a bid to avert industrial action, but negotiations broke down this afternoon without a resolution. Walsh said the strikes were "deeply regrettable", while Unite's joint general secretary, Tony Woodley described the outcome as "extremely disappointing".
BA said contingency plans will allow it to fly 65 per cent of its customers, or more than 45,000 a day.
Walsh said: “The determination of our colleagues across the whole business to keep the flag flying this weekend is increasing.” Richardson added that the response has been “fantastic”.
A second strike is planned to begin Saturday 27 March.