BRING OUT BA GROUND STAFF! – demand BA cabin crew

Striking BA cabin crew with  their families on the Heathrow picket line on Tuesday
Striking BA cabin crew with their families on the Heathrow picket line on Tuesday

UNITE cabin crew members at British Airways yesterday called on their union to ballot BA ground staff on strike action.

They also said BA’s ‘bullying’ and harsh pay penalties for striking should be met with longer strikes, of 12 days.

‘We should strike at Easter,’ said one Unite member.

They told News Line yesterday: ‘After the three-day strike BA cut six-days’ pay.

‘For others, where there was a nine-day trip to Sydney missed, BA has put 13 crosses down, meaning the colleague lost so much pay just for one-day’s strike action.

‘They’re being really vindictive over pay.

‘Well, we have played fair, not striking over Easter, they’re being as provocative as they can, and some people are saying, well, why don’t we go on strike over Easter after all.

‘Also, they’ve suspended so many of our union reps and members as well.

‘There has been real intimidation, bullying and harassment.

‘Another thing is it has been suggested that BALPA, the pilots’ union, should be thrown out of the TUC if they are going to allow their members to carry on strike-breaking and working as cabin crew during the next round of strikes.

‘BA is paying pilots £166 an hour on top of their basics to scab.

‘Also, it costs £1 million a day for BA to lease three aeroplanes.

‘We think we need longer strikes, maybe a week to 12 days.

‘Also, Unite must organise an immediate ballot of the ground staff.

‘They are being ground down by Willie Walsh as well.

‘The action so far has been hugely successful.

‘We have shown how united we are and we know we’re going to win.’

The latest strike by cabin crew ended at midnight on Tuesday.

British Airways cancelled more than 30 flights yesterday, after being forced to cancel hundreds of flights during the first round of strikes involving some 12,000 cabin crew, which lasted for three and four days respectively.

At the same time in Germany, Lufthansa pilots will strike for four days from April 13, unless an agreement can be reached with the company.

British Airways shares fell on Tuesday and again yesterday, slumping to less than 243p at one point.

Another Unite cabin crew member told News Line: ‘From our point of view, we’re winning.

‘The BA spin machine is refuting, but it’s their word against ours.

‘Willie Walsh is a poker player: he’s sitting there with a bad hand, but he’s not flinching.

‘It’s just who it hurts most first.

‘Nobody in the company would be safe if he got his way.

‘The union should come up with a plan.

‘There must be longer strikes.

‘Three days was bad enough for Walsh, four days was worse, what we really need is 12 days.

‘That unfortunately was pulled from under us by a judge last time.

‘We need to act now while the momentum is with us.’