British Airways Strikes:The courts have cancelled the 12 days of Christmas

The courts have cancelled the 12 days of Christmas! Strike action 

What’s was the strike all about?

The 14,000 Cabin Crew who were due to go on strike were doing so to prevent redundancies, pay freezes and pay cuts. They voted for strike action by 92% on an 80% turnout. To put that into context the UK government is usually elected by a quarter of the population. The media in its class bias has highlighted the problems to consumers that the strike would cause completely ignoring the more long term damage of workers losing their jobs. A fight back at a major corporation could provide the impetus for other workers to take on the government and bosses in a situation when we are being made to pay for a crisis that wasn’t of our making. Many forget that by June 26 this year 7,000 BA workers accepted pay cuts already and 800 worked for a whole month for free! Willie Walsh the boss at BA collected £743,000 this year which is a 6% rise on the previous year. This is not to mention the 1.1 million he is due to receive in deferred share bonuses. 

How was it stopped?

The strike was stopped by a court injunction that deemed the balloting process to be illegal as some workers who had already been made redundant were sent a ballot. Going to the courts is an increasingly popular choice for bosses who wish to prevent strike action. The bosses are making full use of the still intact anti trade union laws brought in by Thatcher and preserved by Labour. To stop strikes on a technicality employers can ask for the following information: “the numbers of employees balloted—what categories they fall into in terms of what job they do, where they work, etc, for union members who may or may not pay their union dues by deduction from salary (whereby the employer can know they are union members) – is provided to the employer, and such information must also include full explanations of how such figures are reached. The figures must also be accurate.” It is a shame that the laws are not as strict on how much tax private equity firms are paying, where fat cats hide their money, how much “bad” debt banks had before the crisis.

What next?

The Unite union are re-balloting their members. A strike could officially restart around January. However workers should just come out on strike anyway. Workers at the Oil Lindsey refinery went on strike to get 600 workers their jobs back, workers around the country responded with illegal solidarity action and they won. It showed that militant action can be the best way to win and resolve the dispute on the terms of the workers and not the fat cat, mansion living, Bentley driving bosses (add own examples of decadence/insults here).


One response to “British Airways Strikes:The courts have cancelled the 12 days of Christmas

  1. Nice summary.

    Typically, the mainstream coverage has been shocking. Scarce mention of the worker’s plight, and full emphasis on their desire for “maximum chaos”.

    Here’s a few lines from the Sun editorial (Dec 15th, 2009)

    “The Christmas strike by the British Airways cabin crews’ union is cynically aimed at causing maximum misery to passengers.
    Worst-hit will be families who have saved hard to visit loved ones. Their anger and tears can only be imagined.”

    Haha – no joke.

    They also refer to the Unite union as “militant”, which isn’t how I would characterise them…

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