British Airways cabin crew are being balloted on a new offer from management. But this latest offer addresses none of the key issues of the dispute and would represent a substantial victory for their union-busting boss, Willie Walsh. They should reject the deal!
Since the beginning of the dispute, the union has failed to make clear demands and has consequently ceded ground to management.
The strike was originally called over BA unilaterally introducing a two-tier workforce, New Fleet, and attacking pay, terms and conditions. The first wave of strike days was designed to force BA management to the negotiating table.
During that first set of strike days many striking workers were victimised and Walsh stopped their travel allowance. Instead of incorporating demands around these issues into a general strategy Unite stated that they would settle the dispute if Walsh reinstated victimised workers and the striking workers’ travel allowance.
Having failed to get Walsh to budge in negotiations, the current deal represents further backsliding because neither these issues, nor the original issues around New Fleet are addressed.
Unite are making no recommendation on the deal. This is not “democracy” but a lack of leadership in the union which will not inspire the confidence of the members.
Workers should not underestimate the effect of their strikes. Not only has it caused financial damage to BA, but rumours coming out of BA suggest shareholders and middle management are far from united behind Walsh’s bully-boy strategy.
BA cabin crew should reject this deal and organise to articulate a clear set of demands that will allow them to take this dispute to a successful conclusion.