Both British Airways and the cabin crews’ are claiming the higher ground in the bitter three-day strike.
March 22: Both British Airways and the cabin crews’ union, Unite, are claiming the higher ground in the bitter three-day strike that concludes today.
BA said its contingency plans “went well” and that all long-haul aircraft were able to depart from their overseas airports as planned on Saturday evening and arrived as normal at Heathrow and Gatwick on Sunday morning. Extra flights were able to be made from Heathrow and Gatwick “due to the numbers of crew reporting for work,” the airline added.
Unite claims that only nine cabin crew out of 1,100 turned up for work, against BA’s claims of “over 1,000” and that most long-haul flights were empty. It also accused BA of “dirty tactics,” publishing a “dossier of disgrace” claiming evidence of bullying and harassment of union members by the airline’s management and that 38 crew members have been suspended. Unite’s assistant general secretary, Len McCluskey, said “Cabin crew under the management of Willie Walsh have been victims of a disgraceful witch-hunt. The bullying and harassment set out in our dossier shows the lengths BA will go to gag and intimidate cabin crew and destroy trade unionism. This is not just bad industrial relations it’s an offence against democracy. This is Britain not Burma.”
In a video released on the airline’s website, Chief Willie Walsh responded by saying “We promised we would keep BA flying, and that is what we have done.”
Unite’s joint general secretary, Tony Woodley, has urged BA management to restart negotiations so that next weekend’s planned strike can be averted.