THERE were three really lively picket lines of striking British Airways cabin crew around Heathrow Airport yesterday, with music, flags, horns and whistles, responding enthusiastically to the hoots of support from passing vehicles.
Cabin crew spoke to News Line using pseudonyms to avoid victimisation.
‘Steve’ said: ‘This battle has to be fought out to a finish.
‘He’s not for turning, that Walsh.
‘He’s going to have to be beaten.
‘That means the rest of BA must be brought out.’
Unite rep ‘Bob’ said: ‘This strike is over imposition and the bullish behaviour of Walsh.
‘He’s bullying, harassing, intimidating his staff.
‘He’s not a reasonable man.
‘Every time we’ve taken a step to close the gap, Walsh has stepped back.
‘He wants the fight, because through the fight he thinks he can impose his will.
‘His favourite quote is “A reasonable man gets nowhere in a negotiation’’.
‘Victor’ said: ‘Other companies are looking at this very closely, as a template.
‘If they could get away with doing it to such a strong union and workforce, then they could get away with it with other companies.
‘We need to send a message: this isn’t about staff travel, it’s about the problems that got us here in the first place: the imposition of huge cuts in our conditions.’
‘Georgia’ said: ‘It’s got nothing to do with staff travel. Staff travel doesn’t pay our mortgages.
‘He’s trying to drive us down.
‘It’s all about profits for those at the top and the control of all the little minions at the bottom.
‘This is the most important fight today. I think that what we are seeing is a blueprint for management to bully and intimidate their workforce, to drive down wages.
‘It’s capitalism at its worst.
‘I’m here for the fight, I’m here to the bitter end.
‘I’m prepared to sell up and go and live with my mother. at 43 years of age, if need be.
‘There’s no way I’m going to let Walsh win.’
In his speech to the Unite annual conference yesterday, joint general secretary Tony Woodley said that a new ballot for continued BA strike action may be only a week or so away.
Woodley denounced the bullying that ‘imposes radical changes on our members without agreement’.
He said: ‘Willie Walsh’s hard-man stance on cabin crew travel will plunge the airline into a prolonged and totally needless summer of disruption.’