Socialist Worker

Critical week at BA - will Unite set strike dates?

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2192

Crucial talks between British Airways (BA) bosses and the Unite union were due to end as Socialist Worker went to press.

BA boss Willie Walsh wants to slash cabin crew jobs, impose worse conditions, cut pay and attack their union.

Cabin crew workers want to fight. Around 80 percent voted for strikes over two weeks ago on a turnout of 80 percent.

Yet so far Unite has failed to call them out. Instead, it has offered an alternative “cost cutting” plan.

This includes a 3.4 percent pay cut, followed by a two-year pay freeze and acceptance of some cuts to cabin crew numbers.

The union has even indicated that it could accept BA’s plan to bring in a new fleet of workers on lower pay and worse conditions. These attacks led workers to vote for strikes in the first place!

Workers shouldn’t fall for the line that this is about money. It isn’t.

BA is provoking a battle because it wants to smash the union and destroy workers’ terms and conditions.

Some say that BA bosses are so well prepared that workers can’t win. It’s true that bosses have prepared some scabs. But they don’t have 13,000. BA doesn’t have the resources to cope with an extended strike by over cabin crew.

Hard-hitting action could bring BA to its knees.

Cabin crew have huge power within BA, but need to be able to show it.

The ruthless stance of the bosses may force Unite to call action.

BA workers have the strength to stop their bosses.

They should bombard their union with demands to name strike dates and take the fight to Willie Walsh.

Watch this site for updates on the dispute.

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Article information

Tue 9 Mar 2010, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2192
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