Socialist Worker

Unite members deliver a sky-high vote for more strikes at British Airways

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2548

Pickets at British Airways during a strike earlier this year

Pickets at British Airways during a strike earlier this year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


British Airways (BA) “mixed fleet” cabin crew have voted resoundingly to strike in a second ballot.

Some 91 percent backed strikes on a turnout of 69 percent.

The reballot extends their mandate to strike and broadens their demands to include the return of bonuses docked to punish strikers.

It could have meant striking over Easter, one of BA’s busiest periods. But Unite postponed calling strikes, saying it was making “progress” in talks.

In another ballot Unite sought to convince members of BA’s “worldwide fleet” to waive the “good faith clause” in their contracts.

This commits them to demanding a pay rise of their own if mixed fleet wins one.

Unite argued waiving it would be an “act of solidarity” because it would make it easier for BA to settle the mixed fleet dispute.

But members at the worldwide fleet voted to keep the clause.

This isn’t necessarily bad news for mixed fleet. The workers’ weakness is that they only represent a minority of BA’s crew.

A better way to demand solidarity from other fleets would be to call them out in action too, adding to the pressure on BA.

The mixed fleet workers have fought heroically, but the long delay since their last action risks seeing them sold short.


Nuclear workers in Scotland continue action after talks fail

Workers at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases are continuing industrial action after talks between their Unite union and contractor Babcock Marine concluded without resolution last week.

The Unite members at the bases on the Clyde in Scotland are taking action short of a strike and staggered strikes. They accuse Babcock of trying to undermine the union.

Faslane is home of Britain’s Trident fleet of nuclear-armed submarines.

The dispute comes alongside a series of strikes over pensions at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire where Trident missiles are developed and maintained.

Workers fighting their bosses in the military sector deserve support as much as workers elsewhere.

But the resources and labour squandered on deadly weapons should be put to much better use.


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