RICHARD Branson, Tony Blair's favourite boss, is trying to block the recognition of the AEEU union on his Virgin Atlantic airways. Around 1,400 of Virgin's cabin staff, just over half the workforce, have joined the union.
Virgin says that a ballot of the airline's staff in May showed an overwhelming rejection of union membership. Virgin has refused to publish the results of the ballot. Workers at Virgin are sick of their poor working conditions and the company's alleged age discrimination.
'Virgin should take its head out of the clouds and face reality,' said Roger Maskell, AEEU national officer for airlines. The cabin crew want a trade union and we are going to give them a voice. This reminds us of the worst excesses of Thatcherite anti-union behaviour.'
The AEEU is a right wing union, led by the pro-business Blairite Ken Jackson. It is seeking partnership deals with the employers but Branson's anti-union stance has forced it into confrontation.