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30/10/2009 - British Airways Strike Looms

 
EARLIER this month, Solidarity reported on the growing anger of workers at British Airways. 

 
Their anger was fuelled by the arrogant attitude of Willie Walsh - the British Airways Chief Executive. He wanted to impose various changes without negotiating with the appropriate unions.
 
At the time, Adam Walker – the President of Solidarity Trade Union - claimed that: “Unilateral action will only hasten strike action”.  
  
Now it seems that his words have come true. 
 
For if last ditch talks fail, BA workers are all set to hold a ballot to vote on strike action.  If they vote in favour, flights could be crippled from early December as rolling strikes ground planes in the run up to Christmas.
 
Workers are concerned at BA's plans to cut 3,700 jobs on top of the 2,500 already shed since 2008. They are rightly worried that the proposed job losses will lead to outsourcing of airport staff, as well as unfavourable new rosters and a lower rate of starting pay. Some also believe that all career prospects will be put on hold.
 
They claim that the airline wants workers to accept new contracts. But Willie Walsh wants these contracts imposed on staff – and seems reluctant to negotiate.  
 
These changes will mainly hit BA’s 14,000 cabin crew – and they will be the first to vote for industrial action.
 
Once again, Adam Walker has called for BA’s management to come to their senses and thrash out all issues with the unions.
 
“I understand that BA also wants to chop the allowances system that workers enjoy – and freeze basic salaries for two years. Apparently some staff have been asked to work for free.  No wonder they are angry!
 
No-one wants to loose pay – especially leading up to Christmas – but it looks like the workers have no alternative than to strike. However, there’s still time to stop this industrial action. Willie Walsh should sit down now and negotiate”.