BA will review uniform policy after crucifix row

British Airways is ready to climb down over its refusal to allow a Christian check-in worker to wear a cross over her uniform.

Nadia Eweida was sent home for wearing a crucifix

In the face of a public outcry, a threat from the Church of England to withdraw its £10.25 million investment in the airline and condemnation from more than 100 MPs at Westminster, BA announced an immediate review of its uniform policy.

The move, which was announced by Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, came as support for Nadia Eweida continued to grow.

One option being considered by the airline would be to allow staff to wear religious symbols as lapel badges.

While a BA spokesman declined to “pre-empt” the review, the willingness to find a way in which Miss Eweida, 55, could display her faith represents a major volte-face by Mr Walsh, who had until now steadfastly refused to change the airline’s position.

Announcing the decision to re-examine its policy, Mr Walsh said: “The review will examine ways in which our uniform policy will be adapted to allow symbols of faith to be worn openly while remaining consistent with the British Airways brand and compliant with employment legislation.”

Clearly stung by some of the criticism BA has faced, he added: “I am proud to lead an airline that has a track record on diversity and inclusion which is second to none.”

Earlier in the day Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, stepped up the pressure on BA by disclosing the issue had been raised with the Church Commissioners, which looks after the Anglicans’ financial interests.

The BA move was welcomed by Vince Cable, Miss Eweida’s MP, who said he was “delighted” by the decision.

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This post was last updated: Saturday, November 25, 2006 at 1:22 PM, Central European Time (CET)