Socialist Worker

Diary of a BA striker

Diane, a British Airways cabin crew worker, writes about her experience of taking on Willie Walsh

Issue No. 2195

12 March: Len McCluskey [Unite official] announces our strike dates. I check my diary—I’m rostered to work over both series of dates.

On 20 March I should be going to one of my favourite destinations that would earn most of this month’s salary, but there’s no question that I’ll be striking.

15 March: Every man and his dog is clamouring to condemn us. Lord Adonis and Gordon Brown make ignorant comments about our dispute. I send them angry emails that won’t be answered. I order Unite to redirect my Labour party contribution to a charity.

That night I find myself crying. My husband says, “It won’t be like this forever”. I say, “If he wins it will be”.

When I answer the phone the next day, I’m confused. Who’s this woman sounding like my best friend?

“Hiyee! It’s your manager,” she says. I’ve never spoken to her before. When she asks if I’ll be attending work I say, “no comment” and end the call.

20 March: The first day of the strike. I haven’t given a thought to work—didn’t think about when I should be getting ready, or leaving, or checking in. I’ve never questioned if I’m doing the right thing. My mind was made up a long time ago.

I’m waking earlier every morning and on the 22nd I head up early to our base at Bedfont. I’m on my first ever picket line. We sing, and cheer the many drivers who honk as they pass.

A colleague next to me checks his watch and kisses his wife, saying quietly to her, “We’re now officially on strike”.


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