A British Airways cabin steward was fired for threatening to poison a strike-breaking pilot’s food, an employment tribunal has heard.
Bryan Benning, who was based at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, is alleged to have posted abusive messages about BA strike-breaking staff on YouTube.
The employment tribunal panel heard how senior BA officials traced the YouTube messages about the strike back to Benning. They stopped him as he was about to board a flight and later sacked him.
Benning, 43, is suing British Airways for unfair dismissal. He denies that the YouTube messages were not posted by him but by his brother.
The panel was told that Mr Benning, writing under the psuedonym ‘Strike 2010’, made comments aimed at strike-breaking cabin crew and staff.
“Don’t eat anything you are to be served on board. Bring your own food on board. We know everything, we have all your details.”
Representing Benning, Anya Palmer said that he was suffering from chronic depression and was not acting in the best way during his disciplinary hearings.
She said: “He was advised by his doctor that he could not take part in the hearing and he could not answer questions over the phone. He was severely depressed, on pills and did not have a union representative.”
She also said that her client was provoked into posting messages because of what other people had said, including one blogger who said: “Cabin crew you are paid £30,000 a year and all you do it open a packet of dry roasted nuts and walk up and down an aeroplane; you have no qualifications or skills.”
“The women are only employed if they have a nice ass and male cabin crew members have those faces you want to punch - and I would love to - until it looks like a beef burger.”
“You are glorified waiters and waitresses. The hardest part of your job is putting ice cubes into tiny glasses.”