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Riding on 92 pc public backing, BA female worker refuses ’Cross deal’ with BA
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Riding on 92 pc public backing, BA female worker refuses ’Cross deal’ with airline

London, Nov 27 

Buoyed by the tremendous public support (92 percent according to a public poll), British Airways check-in worker Nadia Eweida, who is at the centre of ‘‘Cross row’’, has reportedly rejected a compromise deal by the airline to bury the hatchet.

She said that the ‘‘Cross’’ should be regarded as mere piece of jewellery, but should be held with high respect and dignity.

A public poll published yesterday revealed that 92 per cent of people backed the right of individuals to wear crosses at work. Another poll carried out by ICM for the News of the World, found out that that a massive 79 per cent of the Britishers said that workers should wear any item associated with their religion, while 80 per cent condemned BA’s actions. Around 65 per cent said that traditional British culture was being ‘‘eroded by political correctness’’.

The airline had proposed a deal with Nadia, setting out a compromise allowing her to display the tiny Cross in the form of a lapel badge. But, the 55-year-old female worker said that she would only return to work if she could wear it on a chain around her neck, reported the Daily Mail.

Her refusal to relent will be a further blow to the airline, which has suffered a public relations disaster over the row, added the paper.

She said that she was ‘‘grateful and happy’’ that BA had agreed to review its uniform policy in the face of extraordinary public outcry. She added that when she is called for a further meeting at BA’s offices in Heathrow this week, she would tell the airline bosses that she will ‘‘not back down’’.

‘‘That is my bottom line. I went asking for specific management consent to wear this cross around my neck on a chain to manifest my Christian faith. In all honesty I don’t consider the cross to be jewellery or a badge to be worn on a lapel, a sleeve or a handbag. It is not a badge, it is not a cricket ball team membership of a club. It is to be regarded with high respect and with dignity,’’ the paper quoted her as saying

In an interview with ITV1’s The Sunday Edition, she said: ‘‘Is it around their neck? You know they have adjusted the uniform standards book to accommodate religious apparels of other faiths. They did not go to other faiths and say you adjust your religious apparels to accommodate the uniform. The uniform works around religion, around God first, company second.’’

Late last week, the airline had softened its stance over the row following a backlash by the Archbishop of Canterbury, leading bishops, 100 MPs and a string of Government Ministers. Airline’s chief executive Willie Walsh bowed to public pressure after Dr Rowan Williams threatened to sell the Church of England’s 6.6million pounds worth of shares in the airline.

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