Unite leaders betray airport workers – for an emergency conference to elect a new leadership!

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THE BETRAYAL by the leadership of the Unite union plunged to new depths last week in the negotiations between the union and the management at Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL).

HAL is relentlessly pursuing a fire and rehire policy aimed at forcing over 4,000 workers at the airport to take pay cuts of up to £8,000 a year.

In September HAL issued Section 88 notices to workers. These notices commit the employer to a 45-day period where it must negotiate with the union – when this period elapses then HAL can bypass negotiations with Unite and immediately implement fire and rehire on new pay-cutting contracts. The 45-day period for workers employed by HAL expires this week.

Last week, Unite met with HAL management and put forward proposals that its regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said ‘presented clear alternatives to Heathrow’s management which would have offset the need to make such draconian pay cuts’.

They seriously proposed that the way to ‘save’ Heathrow was for all workers at the airport to pay the company back the bonus of £700 they received last year.

In addition to low paid workers finding £700 (that they had in all probability already spent just to survive) the Unite negotiators even pledged that the majority of workers would have their pay rates ‘revert back to December 2019 levels’.

A union seriously proposing wage cuts and bonus repayments to bail out a company is unheard of and flies against every principle of trade unionism.

When HAL managers rejected this proposal King could only complain that ‘while our members are prepared to repay their bonus for 2019 the directors have flatly refused. We’re clearly not even vaguely in this together’.

No worker has ever believed that ‘we are all in it together’ with the bosses. The only people who believe this are the trade union leaders.

In their search for unity with the employers these trade union bureaucrats have reached the point of offering up everything, including money from the pockets of their members, to placate and win favours from the employers.

This is not the first time that the Unite leaders have sold members at the airport down the river. In September, they agreed to a Redundancy Mitigation Plan for members employed by British Airways at Heathrow – a deal that included accepting pay cuts along with workers having their wages deducted to pay for a ‘pool’ of fellow workers sacked by BA but kept on the books in case BA found use for them at a later date.

This was after the Unite assistant general secretary had pledged to a mass meeting that the union would ‘throw the kitchen sink’ at BA before immediately crawling off to come up with this treacherous deal. The only thing that they threw in was the towel of surrender. No wonder HAL treated them with contempt.

The bosses have the measure of these cowardly leaders who have reached the point of surrendering the wages and conditions of their members in order to keep these companies going and the profits for their owners flowing in.

These leaders are trying to turn Unite into nothing more than the corporate trade union wing of these companies whose sole job is to enforce the wishes of the employer on their members, entering into a ‘labour front’ with the government and employers against the working class.

Unite members at Heathrow are up in arms at this collaboration between their union and the bosses, with calls being made for the Unite stewards involved in the negotiations to be replaced.

In fact, members must demand an emergency conference of the entire union to expel the national leadership and replace them with a new leadership prepared to fight for jobs and wages.

What is required to stop the complete degeneration of the trade unions is to replace these leaders with a revolutionary leadership prepared to call a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers under a socialist planned economy.

Only the WRP is building this revolutionary leadership. Join today, there is not a moment to lose.THE BETRAYAL by the leadership of the Unite union plunged to new depths last week in the negotiations between the union and the management at Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL).

HAL is relentlessly pursuing a fire and rehire policy aimed at forcing over 4,000 workers at the airport to take pay cuts of up to £8,000 a year.

In September HAL issued Section 88 notices to workers. These notices commit the employer to a 45-day period where it must negotiate with the union – when this period elapses then HAL can bypass negotiations with Unite and immediately implement fire and rehire on new pay-cutting contracts. The 45-day period for workers employed by HAL expires this week.

Last week, Unite met with HAL management and put forward proposals that its regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said ‘presented clear alternatives to Heathrow’s management which would have offset the need to make such draconian pay cuts’.

They seriously proposed that the way to ‘save’ Heathrow was for all workers at the airport to pay the company back the bonus of £700 they received last year.

In addition to low paid workers finding £700 (that they had in all probability already spent just to survive) the Unite negotiators even pledged that the majority of workers would have their pay rates ‘revert back to December 2019 levels’.

A union seriously proposing wage cuts and bonus repayments to bail out a company is unheard of and flies against every principle of trade unionism.

When HAL managers rejected this proposal King could only complain that ‘while our members are prepared to repay their bonus for 2019 the directors have flatly refused. We’re clearly not even vaguely in this together’.

No worker has ever believed that ‘we are all in it together’ with the bosses. The only people who believe this are the trade union leaders.

In their search for unity with the employers these trade union bureaucrats have reached the point of offering up everything, including money from the pockets of their members, to placate and win favours from the employers.

This is not the first time that the Unite leaders have sold members at the airport down the river. In September, they agreed to a Redundancy Mitigation Plan for members employed by British Airways at Heathrow – a deal that included accepting pay cuts along with workers having their wages deducted to pay for a ‘pool’ of fellow workers sacked by BA but kept on the books in case BA found use for them at a later date.

This was after the Unite assistant general secretary had pledged to a mass meeting that the union would ‘throw the kitchen sink’ at BA before immediately crawling off to come up with this treacherous deal. The only thing that they threw in was the towel of surrender. No wonder HAL treated them with contempt.

The bosses have the measure of these cowardly leaders who have reached the point of surrendering the wages and conditions of their members in order to keep these companies going and the profits for their owners flowing in.

These leaders are trying to turn Unite into nothing more than the corporate trade union wing of these companies whose sole job is to enforce the wishes of the employer on their members, entering into a ‘labour front’ with the government and employers against the working class.

Unite members at Heathrow are up in arms at this collaboration between their union and the bosses, with calls being made for the Unite stewards involved in the negotiations to be replaced.

In fact, members must demand an emergency conference of the entire union to expel the national leadership and replace them with a new leadership prepared to fight for jobs and wages.

What is required to stop the complete degeneration of the trade unions is to replace these leaders with a revolutionary leadership prepared to call a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers under a socialist planned economy.

Only the WRP is building this revolutionary leadership. Join today, there is not a moment to lose.