BA and Unite race to recruit support as strike looms

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British Airways is reinstating a number of flights tentatively cancelled after a cabin crew strike notice, while unions are trying to thwart the carrier's operations by recruiting support from overseas ground-support personnel.

BA says that over 60 airlines have offered additional capacity for passengers but adds that there has been a "significant" increase in the number of its own cabin crew offering to work.

"These developments have enabled the airline to reinstate some previously cancelled flights and provide extra capacity for both long-haul and short-haul destinations," says the carrier, adding that it could fly more than 4,000 additional passengers per day over the initial strike period, 20-22 March.

Cabin crew union Unite has been seeking support from the US Teamsters union, while the International Transport Workers' Federation says the Australian Transport Workers' Union is backing the strike.

"If a solution to this strike isn't found...then our member unions will continue to mobilise to support the strikers, using the kind of lawful expressions of solidarity that are most appropriate to them," says the ITF's civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho.

"The cabin crew are being supported in this by everyone from air traffic controllers to refuellers to ground and flight staff, and they want to do what they can to back their colleagues in BA.

"If a satisfactory solution is found, which is what we all hope for, then that action won't be taken. If it should prove necessary then we'd rather not say in advance the exact forms it will take."

BA pilots have reiterated that they will operate services normally during the dispute.