British Airways (BA) cabin crew stuck two fingers up to bullying boss Willie Walsh this week. They led an inspirational three-day strike to defend jobs, pay, conditions and their union.
Workers are set to strike for four more days from this Saturday.
The stakes are high – and not just for cabin crew.
The strike has propelled BA cabin crew to the frontline of the battle to stop workers paying for the economic crisis.
The bosses, backed by Labour, the Tories and the mainstream media, have lined up with Walsh.
But many ordinary workers are rooting for the strikers. A victory for cabin crew will deal a blow to bosses and boost workers’ confidence.
The picket lines were busy last weekend. Cabin crew on long-haul flights came off shifts to join the strike. Workers queued to get onto minibuses carrying them to picket lines.
“This is one of the most rewarding days of my life,” said one striker.
Martin, who has worked at BA for 20 years said, “I’m striking for my job.
“Bosses are using the downturn to take a whip to workers. BA’s agenda isn’t about money, it wants to break the union.”
“We’re told bankers get bonuses so banks can attract ‘the best’,” said Claire. “Why doesn’t that apply to us?”
The strike was solid and confident.
“By 6.15am full buses carrying strikers had gone out to picket lines – we didn’t have that in our ’97 strike,” said Darren. “We’ve had messages of support from unions worldwide.”
“The support has been fab,” added Phil. “People recognise we’re not the villains portrayed in the media – we’re ordinary workers.”
Jane was defiant. “We have to beat these union busters,” she said.