Socialist Worker

British Airways: Bassa right not to ballot

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2228

Plans to ballot British Airways cabin crew on a new offer in their ongoing dispute have been halted—because their union reps refused to recommend it to them.

The reps, in the Bassa section of the Unite union, should be applauded.

The deal was appalling. It enshrined job cuts, threatened to tear up all existing union agreements and gave no guarantee of fully restoring staff travel concessions.

Most disgracefully, it would have seen the union agreeing not to support crew who take legal action against BA.

Some say that the reps have taken away workers’ democratic vote. But it is BA boss Willie Walsh who is stopping workers having a vote.

He demanded that all union reps recommend the deal as a condition of the ballot.

In any case, the overwhelming majority of crew are against the offer.

Why should the union leaders waste time and money balloting members on an offer they know is rubbish?

There is a huge danger that the Unite leadership will now engage in yet more pointless talks with Walsh.

But strikes are the only way to force Walsh to retreat—and workers should demand a fresh strike ballot.

With every hesitation, crew suffer more attacks. Walsh imposed job cuts a year ago.

His new “mixed fleet”, employing crew on lower pay and worse conditions, has now begun operating.

Workers can beat Walsh. But if that happens it will be despite, not because of, Unite’s leadership.

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Tue 16 Nov 2010, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2228
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