At the end of the Right to Work conference, a group of 200 or so people marched to the building where Willie Walsh was in support of the BA cabin crew. Noticing a door was unlocked about 100 protestors marched into the building and the rest protested outside the building. The group who entered the building made their way to the 22nd floor and where they saw Willie Walsh in a corridor on his mobile phone.
Myths and the reality of the situation:
1) Willie Walsh claims he was intimidated by the protest: Since the dispute began Walsh and the BA management have sacked 7 strikers, disciplined at least 45 other strikers. Things are so nasty at BA that strikers involved in a legal and official dispute have to appear on TV with their faces and voices disguised and at some public meetings strikers have to speak behind screens. Walsh is the real bully not a small group of protestors shouting at him in a corridor.
2) Did the protest stop the talks? The target of the protest was Willie Walsh. There was never any intention of stopping the talks and it is important to emphasise that we did not break up the talks. The talks were already over before the protesters entered the building. It is clearly absurd to claim that the protests scuppered the talks. Everybody knows that Walsh wants to break the strike and has made it clear that only complete surrender of the union is acceptable. Lastly the talks have been going on since Xmas – a ten minute protest on a Saturday made no difference
3) What has been the response of the BASSA strikers? An official BASSA statement issued yesterday said “despite widely reported distractions that occurred at ACAS, in reality these had little effect on the outcome of these talks”.
We continue to raise solidarity with the BA workers and believe the most effective way of winning the dispute is to call out other workers at Heathrow Airport.