Socialist Worker

Strike as sacked BA baggage handler hangs himself

Issue No. 2049

Piara Kalayan, a baggage handler at Heathrow airport devastated at being sacked hanged himself last week.

His colleagues voted to strike over the way they claim he was treated by bosses.

Piara was sacked on the spot when he arrived drunk for work the day after a Valentine’s Day argument with his estranged wife. He wrote an emotional letter to David Noyes, head of BA’s ground operations, pleading for his job.

He had received a bravery award for risking his life to stop a runaway machine ploughing into a jet. But Piara lost his appeal on Monday of last week. The next day he was found hanging by his high visibility reflective jacket in the tiny flat where he lived alone.

His sister Gurdev Kaur Gill said, “The job was his life. He had lost everything else – his children, his wife and his home. He begged them to give him his job back but they refused. He has done so much for BA and this is how they repay him. It’s corporate murder.”

Hundreds of BA staff gathered for an hour to discuss Piara and his treatment by BA. One said, “It is disgusting that Piara was treated so poorly. We want justice. We want to make sure this shoddy treatment of a loyal worker can never happen again. We are prepared to strike for the memory of a much-loved colleague.”

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Tue 1 May 2007, 19:22 BST
Issue No. 2049
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