Socialist Worker

British Airways strike ballot due to end

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2244

Cabin crew striking in 2010

Cabin crew striking in 2010


A strike ballot of cabin crew at British Airways ends on Monday of next week.

The ballot looks set to deliver another overwhelming vote for strikes—and the Unite union must call action immediately.

Cabin crew are fighting attacks on their jobs, pay, conditions and union rights.

What happens in the dispute matters for every worker in Britain.

There is a new boss at BA. Keith Williams has replaced the hated Willie Walsh. But the war on workers goes on.

The latest attack targets pregnant women.

Pregnant crew are grounded from flying as soon as they believe they are pregnant. Instead of flying, they perform ground duties at airports.

A longstanding agreement limited the distance that grounded crew would have to travel to work, to cut the risk of miscarriage or other risks to health.

BA has now scrapped that agreement. Pregnant crew will be forced to travel to Heathrow and Gatwick—regardless of how far away they live.

If they don’t, BA won’t pay them anything for the duration of their pregnancy.

Most BA workers are women.

Brendan Gold, a Unite national officer, called the move a “shameful attack”. He said, “Instead of rebuilding the battered relationship BA has with its cabin crew, BA is continuing to provoke anger and resentment.

“BA has closed its regional bases forcing workers to travel hundreds of miles to their place of work, yet it now intends to stop payment to any pregnant crew staff member who is unable to commute to BA’s last two hubs, Heathrow and Gatwick.”

The attack on women cabin crew shows the determination of BA bosses to rip up workers’ rights and drive down conditions for cabin crew.

Workers have shown, in ballot after ballot, their own determination to fight back.

If the latest ballot delivers a yes vote, they must demand that Unite calls a programme of strikes to stop the assault.


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News
Tue 22 Mar 2011, 17:18 GMT
Issue No. 2244
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