The union representing British Airways cabin crew plans to ballot members again on taking strike after the union was forced to scrap last month’s mandate for further strikes on legal grounds. Strike during Royal wedding not ruled out.
British Airways’ crew members cancelled their plans for strike after objections from the airlineover the legitimacy of the January’s strike ballot.
Unite, the union that represents the cabin crew of the airline, balloted members in December and January for industrial action in the long-continuing clash over conditions, pay and the removal of staff perks. However, BA lodged a challenge against the ballot with the Electoral Reform Society and succeeded in persuading the ERS that there were enough problems with the ballot.
BA’s cabin crew will vote again over industrial action after BA cautioned its staff that they could face dismissal if they go on a strike this month.
Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey was quoted by news portals as stating, “Unite therefore cannot call industrial action based on this ballot, since such a move would expose our members to sanctions by a bullying employer.”
McCluskey further added that the union is now preparing for a new ballot. He also accused the UK’s national carrier of trying to complicate things by conducting a legal battle rather than pursuing peace talks since the time the union has announced its new strike mandate.
“Since then, Unite has not heard a word from the company,” McCluskey was quoted by online sources. “There has not been the slightest flicker of interest from BA in holding talks to address the concerns of their own employees. Instead BA has launched a legal blitz against the independent scrutineer used to conduct this ballot, the Electoral Reform Society.”
However, BA sources described the allegation as “total rubbish.” A BA spokesman was quoted by news agencies as saying, “Only Unite wants to continue this dispute. We shook hands on a deal last October but Unite reneged on it. The union does not have the support of the majority of our crew and it has lost 2,500 crew members since the dispute began.”
Unite has coordinated 22 days of cabin crew walk-outs in the year 2010, thus causing £150m to British Airways. Passengers who book airline flight tickets are also inconvenienced a great during such strikes as British Airways remains one of the most popular airline choices among travellers. Holiday makers who land up with cheap tickets on flights are the ones who suffer the most as flights get grounded due to strikes and the airport becomes a chaotic mess.
BA Fears Strike on Royal Wedding
British Airways hopes to bring law to its side as it looks to mount a legal challenge in order to prevent its crew from conducting a strike during the royal wedding. The development took place as Unite leader Len McCluskey reportedly said that he would not discount the dates for the royal wedding as potential strike days.
BA looks to challenge the strike ballot proposed by the union by asking for the names on the ballot papers and causes given for the action.
“We wrote to Unite and the Electoral Reform Services during the ballot process to draw attention to a number of concerns,” a BA spokesperson was quoted by news portals.
“We remain in correspondence with both parties regarding these matters. We will take every possible step to protect our business and our customers from the threat of strike action.”
However, Mr McCluskey refused to bow down before the legal threat and asserted that he is concerned more about the working class than the wedding.
“I’m more concerned about ordinary working people who are scared stiff about their jobs, worried about their house, worried about their future,” Mr McCluskey stated.
A prospect of a strike during Easter and Royal wedding will surely make those uncomfortable who have booked tickets on cheap flights for their holidays and hope to travel.