Strike Action from British Airways

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of British Airways, has warned ‘Unite’ Union leaders that if they go ahead with the planned 12 day strike over Christmas for BA cabin crew, they will face legal action. The walk out would be crippling for the company, and they are doing everything they can to prevent it from happening.

Walsh personally handed a letter informing them of this to Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, joint general secretaries of Unite. This took place near Heathrow, and BA’s Headquarters. As far as we know, this letter laid out potential legal objections to the planned strikes, and almost resulted in Union delaying their announcement of strike dates.

One of the grounds that BA could potentially use to form the basis for a compensation claim or an injunction involves the ballotting of BA cabin crew who have recently taken voluntary redundancies, having accepted substantial pay offs. Ballot papers were apparently handed out to cabin crew who no longer work for BA, so it may be declared null and void. The announcement was posted on a website for the Unite cabin crew branch detailing the letter given to Union by Willie Walsh.

If British Airways are successful with their proposed legal action, they could sue for damages of up to £1 million per day if the ballot is in fact declared null and void. However, Unite Union remain confident that they have a strong enough mandate to go ahead with their scheduled industrial action. They expect a turn out of over 80% of their members, with 92.4% voting in favour of the strike.

The cabin crew strike is proposed to take place between 22nd December 2009 and 2nd January 2010, which would disrupt Christmas plans for millions of people. British Airways are examining staff rotas in an attempt to salvage some flights, but there will be massive disruptions to all services during this period.

Many members of the public are furious that the strike is planned for this special time of year. Some of our Asian escorts had hoped to visit family in their native countries, but the chances of this are highly unlikely now. Complaints are pouring in, with one BA customer saying that she felt that she was being used as a “hostage” in the situation, and that the cabin crew should think themselves lucky to have jobs at all.