Unite considers strikes over ‘bullying’

1st Sep 2010
Unite considers strikes over ‘bullying’

Unite has mooted the possibility of further strike action over the Christmas period as part of an ongoing dispute with British Airways.

The long-running dispute between the trade union and the flag-carrier began late last year as BA begun to implement new cabin crew contracts in an attempt to cut costs.

Some 21 days of strike action – costing £150 million – followed.

These strikes led to the suspension of more than 80 BA cabin crew, while a further 13 have been sacked during the dispute.

Travel privileges for all those who took part in the industrial action have also been suspended.

While new contracts have now been agreed, these repercussions now form the central sticking point between the two sides, with Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley telling members strikes were “always an option”.

However, while Mr Woodley is believed to be reticent with regard to action, he faces pressure to ballot members from the cabin crew branch of Unite - the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA).


Duncan Holley, BASSA’s branch secretary said: “We are looking for the green light for a strike ballot next week, which would encompass the Christmas period and there is every likelihood we will be out then.

“It would be prudent for the travelling public to take this into account and make alternative arrangements to ensure their holiday travel plans are not wrecked.”

Unite represents some 12,000 cabin crew at the airline, with a general meeting planned for September 6th to discuss further action.

A decision to ballot could be taken at this meeting.

British Airways

In response to the latest sabre-rattling BA said the vast majority of staff who had been suspended were now back at work.

A spokesman added: “Most of the suspensions have related to allegations from other employees of bullying and intimidation.

“It would be a dereliction of our duty of care as an employer to ignore these.”

Chief executive Willie Walsh has previously outlined plans to operate the majority of British Airways flights in the event of further Unite action.


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