Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/616/9014

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 March 2010

Support British Airways cabin crew

The planned seven days of strike action in two separate walkouts on 20-22 March and 27-30 March by British Airways (BA) cabin crew opens up a new chapter in their ongoing dispute with BA management.

Neil Cafferky

The dispute was triggered when the management tore up cabin crew contracts last November. They reduced the number of crew on flights, changed the role of the lead member of the crew team and proposed to bring in new staff on inferior pay and conditions.

In a final throw of the dice to resolve the dispute, the crews' union, Unite, offered a pay cut of 2.6% and agreed to new starters having inferior terms and conditions. However, the management refused to allow the new starters to work alongside existing crew. Instead, it wanted a 'new fleet' with lower paid crew working on different planes and routes to existing cabin crew.

This was a bridge too far for cabin crew. Separating off the new crew would make it more difficult to recruit them into the union with a view to bringing their terms and conditions up to the level of their longer standing colleagues.

Instead, there could be a significant number of workers outside the union, weakening the negotiating position of cabin crew in any future dispute.

Also, there would be an immediate effect on pay. Basic pay for the bulk of cabin crew is very low. Some new starters are on as little as 14,000 a year. This can be topped up through allowances, with the most being paid for long distance destinations.However management could use the new lower wage crews, on lower allowances, for these longer routes.

While the Socialist Party does not support Unite's offer of pay cuts in talks, management's stubborn refusal to compromise on the new fleet shows that for it, cost saving is largely secondary to undermining one of the strongest organised sections of the BA workforce.

Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey voiced similar suspicions when he said that BA management's "real agenda is destroying trade unionism among its employees."

Cabin crew are in a powerful industrial position. From the moment they strike, planes will stop flying and the company will haemorrhage money every minute.

Therefore, management's strategy has been to delay industrial action for as long as possible through protracted negotiations, vague promises and before Christmas, attacking a democratic strike ballot through the courts.

A barrage of harassment and intimidation has been unleashed on the crew in the hope of undermining their will to strike. Management has also leased 25 fully-crewed planes and has been trying to train a scab crew for use during the strikes, including by calling for volunteers from other parts of the company.

Workers want to fight

Some aviation 'experts' have stated that BA will be able to run a service with scab crews out of Gatwick and London City airports. However Heathrow's terminal 5 is BA's main base with 650 flights in and out a day.

Gatwick and City have nowhere near the capacity to allow enough flights to seriously undermine the strike, so the industrial action will hit the company hard.

There is huge anger amongst cabin crew and a strong desire to fight these attacks, as shown by the two overwhelming majorities for strike action in consecutive ballots and well-supported mass meetings.

Len McCluskey said that Unite will be calling on the whole of the labour movement to back the strike. That is a good start. A march to the BA headquarters, organised and led by cabin crew but calling on workers from Heathrow and the wider labour movement to participate, could be a focal point for rallying support.

This could build the momentum for targeted picket action on Gatwick and City airports if they are used by scab crew.

Send messages of support to the Unite cabin crew branches at:
office@bassa.co.uk
and cc89@mac.com

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 17 March 2010:

BA workers, civil servants: Defending jobs and conditions


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Support British Airways cabin crew

PCS Budget Day action

'Winners' and losers in Royal Mail deal

Workplace news in brief


The state

State infiltration - a warning to the workers' movement


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs day of action


Unison witchhunt

Unison leadership's "scorched earth policy"


Socialist Party news and analysis

Coventry: Voters need socialist fighters - not service cutters

Free the Tamil refugees

Tube Lines: Another fine mess

News in brief


Socialist Students

Defend higher education

Defending public education in the USA


International socialist news and analysis

Another general strike brings Greece to a halt


Socialist Party inteview

Iceland: 93% reject bankers' bailout


Marxist analysis: history

Thatcher's enemy within: 25 years after the end of the miners' strike


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition


Workplace news and analysis

Surrey workers fight cuts

Fighting the cuts at Leeds University

Unite to save Northcott Theatre


Socialist Party feature

Cuts mean poorest people priced out of the legal system


 

Home   |   The Socialist 17 March 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

British Airways:

triangleNationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

triangleSummer of airline industry strikes against low pay and worsening conditions

triangleMixed-fleet workers show strikes get results

triangleTravel chaos for Ryanair customers as airline cancels thousands of flights

triangleBA poverty pay dispute enters new phase of action

Unite:

triangleDetermined St Mungo's homelessness workers strike for three days

triangleBook: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

triangleWorkers at homelessness charity St Mungo's on strike, London, 17 March 2020

triangleUnite union executive council elections

Strike:

triangleBexley binworkers' strike wins sick pay from day one

trianglePostal workers deliver massive strike vote

triangleTory student plot defeated at Cardiff uni

Pay:

triangleThe self-employed need 100% of their income, and now!

triangleSelling the Socialist

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

27/3/20

Coronavirus

The self-employed need 100% of their income, and now!

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Construction site bosses put profits first

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Southampton: University workers win full pay for casual staff

25/3/20

JCB

Bosses not workers should pay for JCB shutdown

25/3/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

25/3/20

Socialist Party

'Meeting' to discuss socialist ideas - more vital than ever during the crisis

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What role could community support groups play?

25/3/20

Retail

Retail and the coronavirus outbreak - organise to defend workers interests

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Organising in the workplace in the time of coronavirus

25/3/20

The Socialist

Like what we say, help us keep saying it - fund the Socialist

25/3/20

RMT

Transport union RMT demands action for coronavirus tube safety

24/3/20

Coronavirus

Protest against Facebook censorship

24/3/20

Newham

Newham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

24/3/20

Coventry

Coventry socialist candidate wins votes against austerity

23/3/20

CWU

Corona crisis brings new issues into the postal dispute

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999