British Airways (BA) was poised to remove leading trade unionists from Heathrow airport this week.
As Socialist Worker revealed in its 1 October issue, BA targeted three senior T&G union officials—Pat Breslin, Mark Fisher and Iggy Vaid — for their alleged role in the August walkout by Heathrow workers in support of their colleagues at catering firm Gate Gourmet.
All the indications were that Breslin and Fisher would be leaving BA after the results of the disciplinary hearings were announced. BA has also banned Brendan Gold, the T&G’s national secretary for civil air transport, from entering Heathrow. This is a fundamental assault on the union.
Willie Walsh, BA’s new chief executive, wants to use the move to the new Terminal Five to destroy jobs and conditions.
T&G leaders promised there would be strike ballots if anyone was victimised. This must be implemented and linked to the rest of Walsh’s attacks.
BA has threatened that if a strike ballot is called then it will proceed with a legal case to extract £41 million from the union for the cost of the dispute. But the T&G cannot allow these attacks to go through.
The unions failed to defend the Gate Gourmet workers adequately. They must not allow the T&G to now be fatally weakened at Heathrow.