Socialist Worker

New strike ballot at British Airways

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2230

The Unite union has announced a fresh strike ballot of cabin crew at British Airways.

It says a ballot will begin soon and end early in January. Strikes could take place early next year.

One BA worker told Socialist Worker, “It’s been a long time coming. Tony Woodley [joint general secretary of Unite] and the Unite hierarchy seem to have some sort of trust in BA.

“But cabin crew have learnt from years of unkept promises, lies and underhand shenanigans that we can’t trust them.

“We have no choice but to continue and it will be another massive yes vote to strike. The company just made half a billion profit—good luck to it selling the ‘fight for survival’ fable again!”

Crew must organise to win a big yes vote—and push their union leaders to call hard-hitting action that can win.

But there are some dangers that crew should guard against.

It’s not clear what aspect of BA’s assault on workers the ballot will focus on. Tony Woodley outlined issues that BA should address to resolve the dispute—including restoring staff travel concessions in full and “full and proper discussion” of the union facilities agreement.

So there is a danger that the fight against imposed job cuts, that sparked the dispute in the first place, will be abandoned. There’s also a danger that union leaders will accept some attacks—the existence of a two-tier workforce with BA’s new “mixed” fleet for example.

Workers must keep control of the dispute. Tony Woodley said this week that, “British Airways’ latest offer is not acceptable to our members.” Yet just weeks ago he was quite prepared to put this to ballot with a recommendation to accept!

Crew have the chance to force Walsh back—they must grab it.


Support sacked and suspended cabin crew

Cabin crew at British Airways (BA) are collecting money for colleagues who have been sacked or suspended during their dispute.

BA has suspended and sacked more than 90 workers. At least one has lost his home as a result and many more are suffering financial hardship.

Trade unionists should publicise the campaign, collect money and get their union branches to donate.

Go to www.santascrew.co.uk to donate or for more information.


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Article information

News
Mon 29 Nov 2010, 15:13 GMT
Issue No. 2230
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