BA union leader predicts fresh strikes in January

A leader of the British Airways cabin crew – who have been resisting changes to their working conditions for more than a year – is predicting they will be back on strike in January.


Duncan Holley, the secretary of the BA union branch, was speaking to The Workers United after addressing a meeting of the Manchester Industrial Relations Society.


He told an audience of more than 50 people – mainly students – the story of the dispute which has led to him and other union activists losing their jobs.


Cabin crew union reps recently rejected a deal that had been negotiated between BA and leaders of Unite.


Holley said after the meeting that if the airline’s bosses didn’t agree to four demands a fresh ballot for industrial action would start in about two weeks with strikes likely in January.


The demands are:
• Returning staff travel concessions to cabin crew who went on strike earlier this year with no loss of seniority.
• Reimbursing cabin crew who had wages deducted when they were sick on strike days.
• Taking the cases of union members who were disciplined because of the dispute to the government arbitration service ACAS.
• Withdrawing plans for an agreement which would allow BA management to impose new terms if negotiations lasted more than eight weeks.


During his address Holley had criticised some elements in Unite’s leadership for not supporting the cabin crew strongly enough – particularly those who were previously in the Amicus union.


He said later that he had voted for Len McCluskey in the election for Unite’s general secretary – which ends tomorrow (Friday) – and was confident that if McCluskey wins he would back the strikers and organise a ballot quickly.


Holley is the secretary of the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA) – a branch of the bigger union. He worked as a steward for 35 years before he was sacked in May.


The meeting was at the Manchester Metropolitan Univsersity business school.

From Workers United, a Red pepper blog


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