‘No To A Race To The Bottom’

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Striking British Airways workers at Heathrow yesterday defiant against Walsh’ and BA’s attempt to cut their working conditions
Striking British Airways workers at Heathrow yesterday defiant against Walsh’ and BA’s attempt to cut their working conditions

‘Walsh isn’t interested in compromise. This is our eighth day on strike and it has gone on to a different level’. British Airway’s cabin crew member ‘Stephanie’, was speaking to News Line in the Bedfont Football Club base at Hatton Cross yesterday.

There were lively flag-waving pickets all round Heathrow airport yesterday, with passing cars hooting in support and receiving loud cheers and waves from the strikers in response.

Striking cabin crew at the base and on the picket lines, who are facing intimidation and victimisation from British Airway, used pseudonyms to speak to News Line.

Stephanie continued: ‘There are a lot more issues now. Eight of our colleagues have been sacked for trivial matters that wouldn’t even deserve a slap on the wrist.

‘Over fifty crew have been suspended, one member has been suspended for having a cup of coffee in the Aurora Hotel. That is where so-called “volunteer crew” are staying. Management have accused him of intimidation and all he was doing was having a cup of coffee in a public hotel’.

Nancy said: ‘Walsh has got to go. He is out to impose new conditions on us and break our union. Let’s face it, everybody could be replaced by a cheaper workforce that doesn’t do the job as well, but that doesn’t mean it’s the way forward’.

Richard added: ‘It’s a workplace of fear now. In any discussions about the strike, you have to have confidence that you know the person and their views before you discuss things.

‘We have always had a family atmosphere, but now you have to be careful who you are speaking to.’

He continued: ‘They are saying on TV that if Walsh restores staff travel there would be agreement.

‘They said we are just a smidgen away from agreement. That’s rubbish.

‘It’s not about staff travel, there are much more important things involved. What they are trying to impose would enable them to cut our wages to £11, 000 a year’.

Jennifer said: ‘Walsh and the bosses are out to send the workers on a race to the bottom, to be the cheapest while they are in a race to the top with their big bonuses’.

Joanna said: ‘I joined this airline sixteen years ago and I signed a contract. Now Walsh is trying to turn this airline into a version of Ryanair.

‘BA passengers write in saying that the reason they fly BA is because of the crew, their professionalism and their reliability. The point is BA are trying to cut our wages to such a degree that the staff travel issue isn’t the main issue.

‘They want to cut our wages to such a degree that we would never even be able to afford to use the staff travel on £11,000 a year.

‘We have been vilified hugely for the past six or eight months but it is not about us getting loads of money and it never was. Would you take a 40 per cent wage cut’.

Kate said: ‘Walsh went AWOL last night. Walsh has to go. I don’t think relations between management and the workers can ever be amicable again while he is there’.