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LONDON - British Airways may train cleaners and baggage handlers as cabin crew in a bid to thwart a strike threat. A new strike ballot of British Airways cabin crew is to be held next week. Around one million passengers could see their Easter travel plans ruined if the Unite union organises a 12-day strike in April. British Airways boss Willie Walsh, in a letter to all BA workers, called last night for volunteers “to back BA by training to work alongside cabin crew who choose not to support a strike, so we are ready to keep our customers flying as much as we can if this strike goes ahead”. The decision by the Unite union to hold a fresh vote in a week’s time on possible strike action came after more than a week of talks with the airline failed to resolve the dispute over staff levels and working conditions. Industrial action planned for Christmas was blocked after a court granted an injunction, declaring it illegal Unite will ballot its 12,000 members which make up 98% of the airline’s cabin crew. A spokeswoman for the union said Unite had gone as far as it could in the talks to meet the airline’s demands but the ball was now in BA’s court. The BA dispute is incredible to watch from afar. To see the British flag carrier being torn apart by by two dogma driven parties is reminiscent of the 1930s. The union may well consider adding cloth caps to their wardrobes whilst the management organises the lockout. Today's news from JAL should be a salutory reminder.