‘WE ARE WINNING!’ – cabin crew in determined mood on day 3

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The British Airways cabin crew strike is gathering strength as the management fails to keep the airplanes flying through the dispute.

During the Saturday of the second weekend of strike action, British Airways had to cancel almost a hundred flights at Heathrow airport.

The Unite trade union said six planes leaving from Heathrow were loaded with passengers and then unloaded again because there were no cabin crews available.

There was lively, noisy and colourful picketing around Heathrow airport yesterday morning by the British Airways cabin crew on the third day of their current strike action against BA boss Walsh’s union busting attack.

Pickets told News Line that they were getting great backing with most of the passing cars, buses and lorries hooting in support.

Samantha told News Line: ‘We will not be silent. We will stand here for as long as it takes to get a settlement.

‘We will not be bullied or intimidated.

‘We are having a catastrophic effect on this airline.

‘We are winning! Willie Walsh needs to realise he can not beat us over the head with his deplorable tactics.’

Vic said: ‘This is Captain Willie Walsh versus BA cabin crew and he has brought all his flight deck operation into this battle.

‘The whole airport should come out!

‘Cabin crew would rather start sharing caravans than cave into Walsh.’

When the buses with blacked out windows carrying strike breakers went by, pickets shouted: ‘Shame on you scabbing crew!’

Stephanie told News Line: ‘Walsh thinks he can punish us for going on strike.

‘Staff travel allowance is not a perk as is claimed, it is an absolute necessity for workers who have to travel to their jobs.

Ruby and Roxanne said: ‘It has only ever been about union busting and they are using classic union busting techniques – denying reps time off to fulfil their union duties.

‘Many reps, including senior reps, have been suspended.

‘Most of the senior reps are on disciplinaries on trumped up charges.

‘That is another union busting technique imported from America.’

Phillip added: ‘We would love solidarity action. We need more people out.

‘Walsh wants to break the union but he is breaking the company.

‘The rest of the union should be called out: the whole of Unite.

‘The unions in America, France and Australia want to support us so we have to get support here.’

Jemima said: ‘I think they should bring the ground crew out.

‘It is the way forward, the way to win!

‘We are getting tremendous support.’

At Gatwick yesterday, cabin crew were again joined near the South Terminal by striking colleagues from Heathrow who together defiantly sang over the megaphones: ‘We would rather be a picket than a scab!’

The previous day, police had told strikers that they had too many people on the picket line. The police agreed that 10 strikers and one union official could remain but their supporters must leave.

Not long after, BAA personnel arrived to demand that the picket must be reduced even further, to only six strikers plus reps, as requested by British Airways.

Not deterred, the striking Gatwick cabin crew members are more determined than ever to carry forward the struggle to destroy Walsh’s plans for slave labour by attempting to smash their trade union.

One Gatwick striker said: ‘This is a fight to the death. It’s proven that this dispute is about union busting.

‘There is no question that Unite must call the rest of the union out because everyone else will be next.’

Another striker said: ‘I have opted out of the paying the political levy to the Labour Party and so have many of my colleagues. We are absolutely livid with this government.’

A BASSA member from Heathrow said: ‘The banks say we have to pay them a good wage or they’ll leave; so it’s all right for them to up their salaries, while the working man has to go in a race to the bottom.

‘Woodley needs to call the whole union out. The situation needs the working man to stand up.

‘A lot of employers are doing a Willy Walsh so, yes, we need a general strike. It is going that way with the railways hopefully out soon.’

One Unite union rep told News Line: ‘The anti-union laws must be repealed. It’s time we start breaking these laws and time for the TUC to back the BA cabin crew and bring the other unions out in support.’

Unite announced yesterday that they would raise £700,000 to support the striking cabin crew through a ‘unprecedented’ two per cent levy on all its members.