BA Sellout!

BA cabin crew at Heathrow during an earlier dispute. They now face mass firings and rehiring on worse terms and conditions

THE UNION Unite claimed yesterday that the deal offered to British Airways’ pilots would be acceptable to tens of thousands of its cabin crew and staff members currently threatened with drastic ‘fire and rehire’ proposals.

The pilots ‘deal’ however is an atrocious sell out!

It means there will be a temporary 20% pay cut reducing to 8% over two years and towards zero over the longer term. On top of that there will be compulsory redundancies which are currently estimated to be 270. British Airways employs 4,300 pilots.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Unite leader Len McCluskey accused the airline of ‘industrial thuggery’ and said that on behalf of the tens of thousands of Unite members threatened with either signing far inferior contracts or dismissal altogether: ‘I will accept the pilots’ deal, but we are not being offered it.’

McCluskey said later: ‘The reality is that the pilots were never faced with the drastic “fire and rehire” strategy that is being imposed on the overwhelming majority of the BA workforce.

‘It has chosen to go to war with some of the lowest paid and most dedicated staff it employs, causing widespread revulsion among MPs and customers, trashing the airline’s brand and putting its access to lucrative slots at risk.

‘BA is indulging in industrial thuggery. It should and could end this strife now.

‘I say to Willie Walsh (BA head) put the deal that you have agreed with pilots to the rest of the staff, and in doing so join with us, as together we find a constructive and fair way through this crisis.’

Dave Wiltshire, secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance, said: ‘The Unite trade union position that it will accept the same deal as (pilots’ union) Balpa is absolutely disgraceful. Balpa has accepted 20% pay cuts and mass sackings.

‘Unite members must tell their leaders in no uncertain terms that they must have nothing to do with a Balpa-type deal, and that the union must take industrial action, strike action, occupy BA facilities and demand the TUC calls a general strike to bring down the government. Otherwise, a situation is being created where all the basic gains of the working class are to be obliterated and this is absolutely unacceptable.’