Strike British Airways Part Four.



Strike: British
Airways: Part Four


For the second time the courts have stopped this strike. On the first
occasion the issue was to do with a small number of voters who should not have
been allowed to vote. This time it is to do with 11 ballot papers which were
spoiled. 11 is a small number compared with the total number of union members
of around 10,000. One of three judges recognised this.


Under Section 231 of the 1992 Trade union act 4 separate pieces of
information are specified. All 4 pieces must be notified to all members of the
union. The pieces are:


Number of votes cast in ballot

Individuals answering yes

Individuals answering no

Number of spoiled voting papers.


The court found against union as not all members were informed about the
spoiled papers. Even though the place where spoiling took place had notices put
up. Further, the union used a number of ways to communicate; via the union
website, via text and email, via notices at airports, and via a newsletter. One
barrister argued that letters should have been sent in the post. The union is


None of this addresses the current issues which are causing conflict. Specifically,
the issue of about 5,000 cabin crew who went on strike last March, and a number
of union activists whose jobs are at risk. The cabin crews had their “perks”
taken from them. These “perks” included subsidised and free travel. However, it
is probably true, though not certain, that most of this travel was not for
holidays, but to get to work on time.


The union now feels that they cannot go on strike legally. So, what to
do? Some years ago many workers at Heathrow reported illness on the same day.
Should this tactic be tried again?


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British Airways Strike Part Three.

British Airways Strike: Part Three.


An on-line members poll of 11,000 British Airways flight attendants is expected to vote for 4 waves of 5 day strikes each. This is happening with a hung parliament, which means that there is not likely to be any government intermediary to calm the two conflicting parties.


The original issue was about cutting staff on long haul flights. Management have now repealed this proposal. The issue now is the reinstatement of staff travel “perks”. Management has now allowed free travel, but only when staff are travelling to work. But senior staff  lose their perk of priority for stand-by tickets.


Further, a senior union official has just been sacked for failing to turn up for duty. He was engaged on union business at the time. This used to be called victimisation; and has traditionally caused great anger amongst union members. Was there no agreed allowance for this union work?


The union tactic in this second strike seems to be firstly to hit peak travel in school half term: and secondly to double the length of the strike, and make it more difficult to find and keep temporary workers.


Who will win?

Management is suffering financial losses from volcano ash, from the first strike, and reputation loss from frustrated passengers. The Union might not receive the very high support in got in the previous ballot. Workers on low pay have already lost some pay. They are being asked to lose more. But the sacking of one union official, and the future possibility of other sackings may well increase the vote for a strike. Also the Unite Union is more supportive of it’s members than last time, when it was said that a 12 day strike was over the top!


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