Socialist Worker

Time to strike running out at British Airways

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2247

The clock is ticking at British Airways. Cabin crew voted overwhelmingly for strikes at the end of March.

But their Unite union has not named strike dates.

Under current trade union law, workers must take action within 28 days of the ballot result otherwise it becomes invalid.

This means workers must strike by 25 April—and Unite must give seven days notice of a strike by Monday of next week at the latest.

It shows no sign of doing so and it seems that some crew are growing impatient. A statement on the Bassa forum, the cabin crew section of Unite, offers “sincere apologies” for the lack of information coming out from the union.

It assures crew that “things are happening behind the scenes” and that strikes will be called “if required”.

But why should workers be kept in the dark?

It was the courage and determination of crew that made previous strikes so successful.

They should at least kept informed of what’s happening in the talks and have a say in where the dispute goes next.

Bosses could end the dispute in a day if they wanted to. They could reinstate workers’ travel concessions, reinstate sacked and disciplined workers and end the assault on crew’s terms and conditions.

The fact that they would rather pay a psychologist to “rebuild trust” between them and the union shows the futility of putting hopes in talks alone to resolve the dispute.

BA bosses will only make concessions if they are forced to—and this means strikes.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey should name the dates now and mobilise the full weight of the union behind cabin crew.

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Article information

Tue 12 Apr 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2247
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