Well done BA cabin crew – Now Unite must use its full strength on the 27th


AT Gatwick and at Heathrow on Sunday morning pickets got tremendous support from passing motorists, coaches and lorries, and fellow airport workers.

The lines of stationary BA aircraft told the full story.

This was that brave and determined cabin crew, all Unite members, having voted twice for strike action against the attempts of Walsh and BA to introduce an anti-union dictatorship at the airline, were determined to defy all the threats and take strike action.

The men and women, many of whom had never been out on strike before in their working lives, summoned up the same heroic spirit that saw the trade unions built in the first place, in the teeth of violent ruling class opposition.

The first three days of strike action have been a resounding success.

The issue now is to finish the job.

Unfortunately, this is the last thing on the mind of the Unite co-leader, Tony Woodley.

He said at the start of the action that BA was going to war on Unite. Yesterday, he appealed to the provocateurs of BA to stop the war. He said on TV: ‘Let’s stop the war, get back round the table and finish the business we were practically successful in doing on Friday to get a negotiated settlement.

‘I stand ready. Let’s make sure next week’s strikes are off the table and hopefully never have to come back.’

The trouble with this is that while Woodley is suing for peace, the other side is waging war with a vengeance and getting involved in every dirty trick in the book to try and intimidate workers into accepting the unacceptable.

It seems that the current union leadership considers that this is a war that it cannot win.

It boasts that ‘Unite the Union’ is the biggest and most powerful union in the country, but then argues that Unite cannot win this imposed war.

If this is the case, and Unite is in fact powerless, then the cause of the working class in Britain is already lost, and it’s a case of the hungry 1930s, here we come.

Of course, this is not the case. What is the case is that the Unite leaders are bound hand and foot to the Labour government, and are putting its electoral considerations before defending the interests of their members.

They will respond that any concerted action by either all of the Unite members at Heathrow and Gatwick, or by the Unite trade union as a whole, or by all the unions in a general strike would be illegal.

Of course under bourgeois law this is so. However, at one time being in a union was illegal but that bourgeois law was defied and broken!

The one-sided class nature of these laws was shown recently in the judicial decisions that declared that the BA strike was illegal because a handful of people wrongly received a ballot paper, making not the slightest difference to the result. Another judge ruled that it was not illegal for BA to impose terms and conditions onto its workforce, because the financial position of BA required such action.

While Tony Woodley says the UK is not Burma, these judges consider that it is and adjudicate accordingly.

Therefore the sooner the anti-union laws are challenged and ripped up the better it will be for workers.

There must be a campaign by all Unite members for the entire union to be called out on the 27th to defend the right to strike and the right to negotiate terms and conditions against industrial dictatorship.

If BA is allowed to win this struggle every trade unionist will be treated in the same way.

Therefore next Saturday, Heathrow and the whole of Unite must stop work and a meeting of the General Council of the TUC called to decide on a general strike in support of cabin crew.

Far from being a struggle that cannot be won, this is a struggle that must be won! Unite must be called out and the TUC with it!