‘Twas thus our Prime Minister described the strike action of an estimated 2 million public sector workers today.
According to him, who is wont to label anything that deviates from the conservative ‘norms’ of behaviour as ‘outrageous’, the pension offer is ‘fair’.
Define fair, David. Define fair?
I am resisting the strong urge to degrade the public discourse with foul language at this point.
In another golden age I was a shop steward for the T&GWU, so I like to think I know a little about industrial relations. If I learned only one thing during my time representing members and attending shop meetings it was this: however much an employee bends the rules you can usually expose the employer as having bent them much further and for much longer.
This was a long while ago now and I expect things have changed. If we are to believe British Airways’ claims then it is the union Unite who have a case to answer, although it will rest on a legal technicality and not a material one. Usually my default setting is to support strikers and if this cabin crew strike goes ahead I will support their right to strike. However I cannot help but feel that in this instance the union are playing a bit fast and loose with members’ jobs.
The facts are that we remain in a recession and that the passenger airline industry is in a fragile state. BA have reported losses this year and I imagine the holiday period offers them a good chance of posting some profits on the board. To endanger this season of fruitfulness could end up backfiring very badly indeed on the cabin crew. Confidence in a brand can be quickly dented and those passengers who end up switching to other carriers or losing their flights will probably not be queuing up to travel with the “world’s favourite airline” if there are other alternatives in future. Virgin report 3000+ bookings in the last twelve hours as BA ticket holders switch.
Even if the intention is to negotiate out of the strike the collateral damage will be done. The travelling public’s trust in a company like British Airways counts for market share and in being prepared to sacrifice this Unite may just be signing their own members P45s.