Labour strikebreakers back BA’s anti-union drive

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British Airways cabin crew will go on strike for three days from 20 March and for four days from 27 March.

The Unite union has warned there could be further action after 14 April if a resolution has not been agreed.

The decision was taken by the Unite leaders after they had bent over backwards to give BA boss Walsh what he wanted.

The response of Walsh was to make clear that he intended to break the Unite union at both Heathrow and Gatwick. He claimed that he had organised over a thousand strikebreakers and a fleet of planes to do so, at a huge cost to BA!

The Unite leaders were given no alternative but to call the action, although they are still trying to get Walsh to ‘see sense’.

This struggle is a vital one, not just for BA workers but for every worker, since if Unite is driven back, every boss in the country will try to do the same, in order to slash wages, pensions and jobs.

This is a struggle for the whole of the working class.

Now the battle has been joined by the Labour Party. This is the party that the Unite leadership saved from bankruptcy, donating up to £11 million of their members’ union money, and getting nothing back in return.

Now they have got something. A massive kick in the guts. Following Premier Brown’s lead, the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, has condemned the strike and the strikers, and championed the cause of the BA boss Walsh, and his dictatorial imposition of new terms and conditions of service onto the cabin crews.

Adonis said yesterday that the strike must be called off, that it was ‘totally unjustified’ and posed a threat ‘to the future of one of our great companies in this country’. He added: ‘Let’s be absolutely clear: the stakes are incredibly high in this strike and I absolutely deplore the strike.’

All that the meek Unite leaders could say was that Adonis ‘appears badly informed’, and that Unite ‘is always ready to negotiate’.

However, the stakes are incredibly high, not just for the cabin crew, but for every worker in the UK who faces similar treatment if Walsh and Adonis have their way.

The issues are crystal clear.

This is a fight that must be won. Unite leaders that don’t want to fight must be made to resign and be replaced by leaders who do.

There are key things that must be done.

The Unite trade union and all trade unions must stop paying the political levy or any donations to the Labour Party as long as the Labour government maintains its position of supporting BA’s Walsh against BA cabin crew. The funds must be used to back the BA workers’ struggle!

Unite must instruct its members nationally that the moment that Walsh uses strikebreakers against the cabin crew, the entire union will take national strike action.

Unite must demand that the General Council of the TUC must meet and must decide to call a general strike to support the cabin crew.

Labour must be told that the trade unions are sick and tired of handing their members’ hard-earned money to the Brown government so that it can carry on propping up the bankers and betraying the workers.

Then trade unions must demand a workers’ government that will re-nationalise BA and Corus, the gas, water and electricity industries and the railways.

This is what workers want. They also want trade unions that will fearlessly fight to defend their interests, not roll over in front of Brown and Mandelson.

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