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Should BA workers be allowed to strike?

10:06 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

British Airways has won a High Court injunction to stop the latest strikes by its cabin staff. Do you agree with the decision?

The judge ruled that the union had failed to tell its members about a number of spoilt ballot papers in the latest strike votes. The union has filed for leave to appeal against the ruling.

The union's joint general secretary, Tony Woodley, said "the decision brings into question whether we have the right to strike in this country" and announced the union would appeal the ruling.

Should courts stop strikes on technicalities? Does this bring to question the right to strike? Should both parts try to solve the dispute? Are you flying today? Has your flight been affected?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    NO NO NO - They are overpaid, glorified head up fingernail darlings..... somebody needs to bring them back down to earth and reality!

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course they should be allowed to strike. But this depends on the strike ballots etc. being performed in a legal fashion - and the injunction proves that Unite has failed to do this.

    Do I agree with their reasons for strike action? No.

  • Comment number 3.

    The question isn't "should they be allowed to stike"? They are allowed to strike.


    The Question should be, "will their representatives in a Union which they pay to maintain in exchange for a competent service, lose their jobs for their complete and continued incompetence. The union bigwigs can bluster all they like but when it comes down to it. These guys have been utterly pathetic in how they have gone about things. They look incompetent,and they are and they are no getting to the stage where they are making their paymasters, the memebers look silly.

    I think the memebership should think twice about electing these guys again. They are laughably monty pythonesque.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have increasingly little sympathy with those caught out by these strikes. We have all known the ‘score’ since Xmas and anyone dumb enough to have booked a BA flight since then may get exactly what the asked for. I deliberately checked and avoided any company flying BA when I booked my last flight and will be doing the same in future.

    Until there have been at least a few strike free years this company is to be avoided. If they go bust and take their bad attitude and massive pension deficit with them so what? … Of course nobody would let a major airline go to the wall just ask the guys at PanAm.

  • Comment number 5.

    Striking in the middle of a recession has to be just about the most stupid thing you can do. A great way to give an employer looking to cut costs a heads up - if the business works without the striking employees - they are probably not needed...turkeys voting for Christmas.

    But...workers need to have the right to strike, they have no other means of protecting themselves against unscrupulous employers. The unions, however, have their part to play in not abusing the privilege - something a few of them seem to have forgotten recently.

    In this case, the courts banning the strike on the grounds of not enough information being given to member about spoilt ballot papers is ludicrous. In my opinion, the law is being badly abused here and I'm not surprised the union is seeking to appeal against the ruling.

  • Comment number 6.

    Striking should always be a last resort and avoided where possible. At the same time it should still be a right otherwise companies will ride roughshod over their workforce and continue to reduce conditions at every opportunity.

    The judge's decision in this case doesn't undermine the right to strike but does undermine the impartiality of the judiciary.

  • Comment number 7.

    All workers should work 24 hours a day for free irrelevant of any legal contract we have with them. Go on strike? They should think themselves lucky BA is prepared to use the law against them - and like us passengers be grateful that they treat everyone but themselves like dirt.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes - definately, or we are all just slaves with a pay cheque.

    The workers have a moral responsibility to the customers - and I'm sure this will be lauded all over the press - but so do the employers, more so it could be argued.

    Both sides have a responsibility to resolve the dispute, but truly the employer should behave better and so avoid disputes in the first place.

    If a contract needs to be renegotiated then negotiate don't impose. This dispute is clearly of the employer's, making, but is being portrayed as caused by employees. Yep, those damn workers should just take the whipping and be greatful, yes siree.

    And now there is space following for endless right wing bile about not being able to fly whereever and whenever, and it costing too much, and the staff are too highly paid, etc etc.

  • Comment number 9.

    Is it really so hard to follow due process?

    Poor stews. They must be wondering what they pay their union dues for, if the well-paid 'professional' trades unionists cannot (be bothered to?) follow clearly-laid out rules for conducting a strike ballot. You'd have thought that having been challenged successfully once over a failure to conduct their ballot correctly they would have been particularly careful this time around, wouldn't you?

  • Comment number 10.

    "the decision brings into question whether we have the right to strike in this country"

    Another issue where people immediately put the argument of whether they 'can' rather than whether they 'should' in terms of Rights - this time in terms of employment instead of the every popular HOOO-MAN rights.

    Look. These people are well represented, as there are too many privates industries and jobs where the concept of workers 'striking' for better terms and conditions would be laughed at by employers. The Airline industry is facing turmoil in terms and competition, environmental, oil/petrol pricing availability, the ash cloud (which could play out for at least a year) and the general economic climate in terms of falling footfall.

    The union shouldn't be made to feel their memebers are being held to ransom but they really REALLY need to take a look around and weigh up the long-term benefit of this action. They will receive little sympathy from a public that is tightening their belts in terms of travel and are looking to protect their own livelihoods.

  • Comment number 11.

    BA cabin crew should be allowed to strike....but only when the planes are grounded due to volcanic ash...

  • Comment number 12.

    They need to be realistic - they are not the only ones being asked to make concessions

    They are lucky to have a job but if they carry on the way they are it might not be for much longer

    Only people benefiting from the action is the Unions

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course they should be allowed to strike. The day that workers rights are infringed is a very dark day indeed!

    I personally have great respect for airport and flight attendant staff considering some of the muppets they have to deal with in their job.

  • Comment number 15.

    It does seem pretty silly that the strike was ruled unlawful on such a trivial technicality.

    However, Unite deserve all they got. Their first ballot was ruled unlawful by the courts. Don't you think that common sense would suggest taking extra special care to comply with the letter of the law second time round?

    I guess common sense is not that common within the Unite leadership.

  • Comment number 16.

    Thatcher's Trades Union legislation is working as designed. A union has to comply with a raft of requirements before a strike can be legal. The employer can then go to court and be granted an injunction on some legal quibble to prevent the strike. There is no mechanism available to a union to get an injunction against any action by the employer.
    Our employment legislation is derived from a 17th Century Master & Servant Act, it was not until the Trades Union Act of 1907 that strikers were exempted from jail for withdrawing their labour.

  • Comment number 17.

    Should Union members be allowed to strike? What the? Of course they should for goodness sake!

  • Comment number 18.

    Should BA workers be allowed to strike?

    Yes.

    Consider though there are 8 Million economically inactive people in the UK, how difficult would it be to train any of them as cabin crew? Its not like they are rocket scientists is it?

    They are lucky they have not lost their jobs through no fault of their own, however they ARE threatening their jobs by their behaviour. Worse still they are putting every other person in BA's job at risk.
    What happens if the company shuts up shop? Well they can join the job queue but I can guarantee they would have difficulty finding a similar position and salary at the moment, just ask any of those 8 million people.....

  • Comment number 19.

    Lets face it, there's not much sympathy for this strike, its prety obvious they run risk of sending BA to the wall, especially as its reputation as an airline is probably at its lowest point in decades.

    But the right to strike is a pretty fundamental protection for all workers and BAs legal action has seriously undermined that.

    We may not feel much sympathy for the Cabin Crews, but one day it could us who are being exploited and prevented from taking any form of action.

  • Comment number 20.

    I have no problem with the right to strike.

    In this case, it seems the unions have not followed the law to the letter and now we have the Management using the law to stop a strike which rather than assisting settlement is more likely to entrench the cabin crew and the union.

    If management think they are clever, maybe they will think again if BA goes bust as the staff did vote for strike action, after all.

    BA is an excellent example for students looking at industrial relations in British industry in 2010.

  • Comment number 21.

    Tony Woodley - nice tan by the way. Glad you clearly got your holiday in before the strikes!

    Of course I think the right to strike is important. And Unite have already managed to succesfully hold a strike. They cannot really complain just because this time they made a mistake - rules are rules.

    Should they be on strike at all?? No. The job is well paid for the few qualifications it requires and clearly given the number of people from all over europe that continue to apply to join BA, the terms and conditions are better than what is on offer elsewhere.

  • Comment number 22.

    BBC HYS, you ask: Should BA workers be allowed to strike?

    Yes, they "are" allowed to strike. As any British worker`s are allowed to strike
    It is their right.
    Unions brought decent living wages and a healthy workplace to the ordinary working man and woman.


  • Comment number 23.

    It seems a little bit like committing suicide to organise strikes during such a bad recession.

    The unions are right to look out for the workers but none of these BA staff are on the bread line so, in my opinion, they should be glad they have a job and get on with it.

    I wonder if they will be satisfied if BA goes under and they are out of work. You can bet your bottom dollar the union reps will be the only ones unaffected.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yes they should be allowed to strike.

    However there should be a financial liability for the strike. BA should carry liability to their customers for all damages and costs because of cancelled and delayed flights, and BA should be able to pass on this liability to the staff who refuse to fulfil their employment contract.

    Alternatively we need an equivilent to the Taylor Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Law) that they have in New York that basically does the same thing but passes liability directly onto the unions.

    Either way the people who refuse to turn up to work (whether individually or when persuaded to do so by their 'union') bear a consequence for their actions.

    It has always seemed ludicrous to me that companies when providing a service are allowed to exclude strike action from the list of events they are responsible for. Why.....

  • Comment number 25.

    1) we operate a rule of law system. So if an action can be proven illegal then due process of law must prevail.
    2) the right to strike is imposable to remove as all one need do is not turn up for work, eg vote with ones feet.
    3) it’s a Mexican standoff situation, bosses verse union. Both want to win and both refuse to back down so it becomes a political football.
    4) i am not affected by this dispute so hold equanimity view.
    So i suppose it is none of my business. Likewise it is none of the governments business either unless it is used as a union bashing or boss blaming exercise.

  • Comment number 26.

    Many hard won freedoms have been eroded for various reasons over the last 30 years and now the use of legal technicalities to prevent people using what little freedoms they have left, which are theoretically guaranteed by the spirit of the law is likely to have severe reprocussions for society in the future.
    Whenever governments or employers go too far the resulting backlash is always worse than the final reason for dispute.
    It is absolutely certain the use of petty legal technicalities i.e. BA cannot dispute the majority of the voters want to take industrial action or the ballot was fair, they are just using the fact that the i's have not been dotted to prevent popular action. This will certainly not improve industrial relations and cause even more problems and reduced staff goodwill for BA for a long time into the future.
    If the government and employers want to prevent workers from striking at all they need to have the strength of their convictions and say so and suffer whatever consequences there may be.
    Otherwise - remember the poll tax riots of the Thatcher era and the fall out from that.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why must a union be allowed to hold the general public to ransom? Why is it that they plan the strikes around times when hard working people want to go away on holiday? A stike is not to draw attention to the so called grievance, its to cause maximum disruption to a company and to cause as much financial damage as possible.

    How can Unite be acting in the best interests of the workforce when everyone knows their two leaders cannot get on. So if two people who are supposed to be on the same side canot get to consensus, what chance with a company who is trying to protect a business.

    Willie Walsh is a tough man, you get the impression he is a honest and fair man, as well as a man of integrity when he offered to resign over the Terminal 5 fiasco.

    Last week our elected government took a pay cut, yet Unite want us to believe that the Trolley Dollies at BA, who are already the highest paid in the industry deserve more in these economically trying times.

    I remember Tony Woodley saying Rover could be saved when John Moulton said it was doomed and tried to downsize it. He really needs to get into the 21st century.

    Today he said the judiciary are biased, this on the same day the judiciary have blocked the deportation of two terorists. Tony Woodley needs to focus on fact and not the old rheteric and dogma of the past.

  • Comment number 29.

    In any democracy the right to strike is essential. Willie Walsh, probably on a six or seven figure salary, is deliberately stoking the flames of this dispute by blaming the workforce.
    And as usual they get it in the neck from the media who suck up to the bosses and the elite rich

  • Comment number 30.

    This is turning in to a farce. Does UNITE not realise that cabin crews perks are not a contractual obligation & are just a thank you from BA for their staff's hard work. It is sickening that this greedy union can virtually hold the country to ransom over their petty power games. If I was BA's boss I would sack all those who strike & fill their jobs with people who actually want to work. Ultimately the strikes will be counter-productive & those striking will not have any job to go to when BA goes down the pan.

    I am pleased with the government's attitude now, they can go against the union without fear of party funding being affected. Remember how the Tories deal with militant trade unions??!!

  • Comment number 31.

    It is further proof that democracy does not exist in the UK. It resulted in David Cameron as PM and success for the nitpickers at BA. Who in my esperience is a terrible airline.

  • Comment number 32.

    of course they should be allowed to strike if they feel they are not treated fairly. (bosses don't strike cos theyv'e got loads'a money?he he)but it's not compulsary that you work for one company only? the rules for judges and lawyer's etc? could do with a good shake up? as i feel many judges are inclined to side with the employers? i see a lot of union bashing coming up in the next year? why am i not surprised nod nod wink wink? the a lot of the publc say they should not ? because it interferes with there traveling? untill yhey have a grievence against there employers? cos that's different????

  • Comment number 33.

    The header for this thread is somewhat misleading. Nobody is stopping this strike. As soon as the legal requirements are met by the Union they can strike, there's no ban on striking which is what the header suggests. The Union failed to ensure their ballot met the requirements placed upon them, that's nobody's fault but themselves, they will be more careful next time.

    On a broader note, I have a number of long haul flights to make in the next six months, they are all now booked - and not one of them is with BA. Last year I made eight long haul Business Class flights with BA but now I just cant trust them to get me to where I need to go so I'm avoiding them like the plague. Take note both sides of this dispute, you are both losing out hand over fist. There will be a lot fewer jobs to argue over when you finally see sense.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    In the case of the BA Cabin Staff workers strike, I understand that BA is trying to get rid of older / longer term workers because they have more generous packages. Can some of the people who post on here try to understand that there is often more to a story than that which "Management" gives out. I have worked my way up from soldier, to shop floor to senior management, if there is a failure in BA it seems to be one of mis management and cost control, why is this a crisis all of a sudden.

    What does the Board think of WW's handling of this issue? Board Members: Look at the very expensive BA HQ, the numbers / costs and competence of the management layer... you should be looking after experienced workers first as they are the people who will represent you to your customers, they are Revenue earners, not just a cost on a balance sheet.

    As a past customer of BA, do I care, well, yes I would like to fly by a "British" airline, but not if it is poorly run and doesn't show Britain up in a good light.. At the moment WW and BA Board need to revise their strategy, and also, learn to deal with stroppy Union leaders.....

  • Comment number 36.

    Like most people I have no problem with the BA staff having the right to strike.

    What I do have a problem with is the union who seem determined to do what Branson/Stellios/O'Leary have failed to do - destroy BA.

    I wonder what the worlds most stuck up waitresses will have to say when they are employed by one of those three gentlemen. Perks? The perk is if you dont complain you might have a job next week!

    As it is clear that some BA staff hold the passengers who pay their wages in utter contempt I cannot feel any sympathy for them, the majority who are trying to keep the airline afloat deserve better than this.

  • Comment number 37.

    Yes every worker should have the right to strike the courts are not always right they have hung innocent people in the past they should have the right to appeal

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    They have more right to strike than Nick Clegg has to be an elected MP.
    In his Sheffield consituency, poor organisation led to long queues, and about 400 voters being disenfranchised. Will a judge rule the election null and void, and that Nick Clegg stand down and face a by-election? Of course not, since judges are part of the ruling class, whose job is to defend the current system.
    As the coalition take the axe to the economy and jobs, we are going to see a massive growth in strikes and disruption. Bring it on!

  • Comment number 40.

    At last a union has been turned over by the same type of petty box-ticking which they always use in employment tribunal cases.

    If any minor step or procedure has been done incorrectly they pounce on it to win a case, well now its their turn! Serves them right.

  • Comment number 41.

    What a farce - I can see no sense in the technical loop hole. The ballet had already been cast, the members had already chosen. Thus the communication following the ballet would of had no effect on the outcome. It seemed very reasonable to me to advertise the results on the internet and on notice boards (due to the staff traveling around the country). I fear for the country now.

  • Comment number 42.

    No - striking should be illegal (especially for public sector jobs) as no one has the right to cause such trouble and heartache, not to mention financial anguish by refusing to work.

    Thousands of people in this country have been made redundant due to the recession. BA cabin crews should feel lucky they still have a job and be proud all that is changing is working terms.

    Unions have a lot to answer for. Fine, we can't ban unions but ban strikes.

  • Comment number 43.

    Absolutely they should have the right to strike. Unfortunately their reasons for striking are unjustified and so I support the airline in this instance.

    The problem in this case seems to lie with Unite, who through bad decisions, worse timing and being too militant, have lost the sympathy of the public and the trust of the airline.

    People criticising airline staff for being too greedy should not that they most definitely are not overpaid. The pay of workers in this industry, even BA, is way below the average, and the travel perks they receive are a means of countering this.

  • Comment number 44.

    They should be able to strike, not extract the urine as they are at the moment. I(amongst others) would love to get back into full-time employment, id happily take one of their jobs and not strike.

  • Comment number 45.

    The the other side of this is the Union, surely all they should know how to stage a strike within the legal controls. For heavens sake, less time on the telly and more time conferring with your legal advisors and talking to the BA Management. Make it easier for them to come to the table so you can get the best deal for your Union Members and keep BA flying (remember, if it doesn't then jobs will.... fly out the window) and keep BA profitable, it protects jobs!!..

  • Comment number 46.

    Of course they should be allowed to strike.Whilst I have not got a great deal of sympathy for the well paid amongst them please do not keep hammering the Unions. Because Trade Unions are up against the travelling public who are obviously against anything which might cause them inconvenience don't you ever wonder why Britain has dearest fuel,least holidays laughable pensions, bad redundancy deals,etc because we let those lovely employers walk all over us.My solution to this British Airways problem get rid of Willy Walsh and get someone in with a bit of diplomacy.

  • Comment number 47.

    One has to question a judiciary that can say that 11 spoilt ballot papers can prevent a vote from being declared valid despite 80% of the workforce voting and of that 80%, 80% of them voting for strike action.
    It is not as though the union did not comply with the law - they published the full results, including spoilt ballot details - on staff noticeboards - but a judge has decided that they did not comply enough. one has to question the judge's decision - and he should be forced to explain in detail in what way they failed to meet the required conditions.

  • Comment number 48.

    Yes, BA cabin crew should be allowed to strike which will bankrupt BA and the airline will collapse, teaching all concerned a lesson.
    How can the union be so stupid and blind that they cannot see the threat to their future from the competition? I bet Richard Branson is watching the BA suicide with amazement. They are presenting him and other airlines with a commercial gift.

  • Comment number 49.

    I have no problem with workers striking, however the staff of BA are tking it too far, and alienating the public. Surely keeping the public on side would help their cause.

    Given the high level of unemployment we are seeing, I would have thought the BA workers would consider themselves lucky to have jobs, and not be trying to sabbotage the copany which keeps them in employment. I will not book a flight with BA again, for fear of a future strike affecting me, I am sure this is a widespread consideration, and BA will be driven out of business if it loses it passengers.

  • Comment number 50.

    Striking may be legal but these decisions have effectively outlawed strikes. The conditions make it almost impossible to comply in every detail. To ensure every union member sees the full detail of the result of a ballot will be almost impossible. Even if the union send every member of the union an individual detailed statement there is no way of guaranteeing they see it and read it. Post going astray, moving house, in hospital, on holiday, working away from home, make this virtually impossible. This really opens the door for ruthless employers and with 2.5million unemployed there is no better time to hit the labour force. Of course there may be an element of resentment by the workers but who cares?

  • Comment number 51.

    Tony Woodley is appealing the decision because he finds the technicality to have been "flimsy"

    The Unite Union's grounds for this strike, and the previous ones have been flimsy at best...I really wish the government would do an overhaul on these excessive union rights which do far more bad than good in these situations.

  • Comment number 52.

    Of course workers should, and do, have the right to strike. They, and their union represenatives, also have an obligation to comply with the law which is there for a very good reason.

    It is very sad to see and hear the dinosaurs of Unite talking about workers' rights (and human rights no less!) when they have failed to comply with a very simple requirement.

    By any standards, the BA cabin crew have a comfortable existence and, partly because of past featherbedding and restrictive practices, have a rude awakening coming. They cannot achieve what their union "leaders" want as that would bankrupt the airline. Given that BA also has a massive pension deficit victory for the cabin crew would also mean the loss of their expected or hoped pensions for almost all of them. Which planet are these guys inhabiting?

    I want to see BA retain its position as one of the great airlines of the world. If Unite carries on as it is now, it will, sadly, go the same way as the UK car industry.

  • Comment number 53.

    There's enough government legislation to protect workers these days. Unions are old hat and cause more problems than they solve.

  • Comment number 54.

    If they are allowed to strike they will lose their jobs and take everyone else with them as BA will go bust, if that's what they want then they should just resign and go and get a new job.
    They should be reminded of the damage strikes can cause, eg 1960s, 1970s & 1980s.

  • Comment number 55.

    Of course the strike should be allowed to go ahead. The ballot was overwhelmingly in favour of a strike - the only 'issue' is around the failure to communicate the number of spoilt ballot papers (only 11 of them) to some of the membership.
    In this case the bullying employer have used our anti-union judiciary to deny the basic democratic right of workers to withdraw their labour - can someone tell me where the natural justice is in that?

  • Comment number 56.

    The technicality involved letting all members know the result of the ballot. I may not necessarily agree with their decision to strike but it doesn't alter the fact that they voted for the strike.

    The rule is daft. It's like disallowing a goal at a football match because a few spectators weren't looking at the time it was scored. Makes no real sense.

  • Comment number 57.

    Of course they should be allowed to strike.

    If they will strike themselves onto the dole queue by toppling the company is another matter.

    It seems like the workers are the ones who are getting the poor deal led by and employed by a group of people who are just too pig headed to sort it out.

  • Comment number 58.

    Agree strongly with post #3 @ 11:07am - 18th May - 'john'.

    Commonsense observations. In, addition, my own thoughts are:

    Will Tony Woodley & Co., publish their salaries, benefits and expected pensions online, paid for by the Unite membership?

    As for Willie Walsh - OMG, let's not go there?

    This dispute has gone far beyond it's original premise? Furthermore, it's clear that it has disintegrated into a battle of personal egos?

    Neither are worthy of this infantile behavior - unless there is much more that neither side are telling any of us?

  • Comment number 59.

    All these strikes are achieving is more business for their competitors. The point will be reached were BA will cease to be viable and will fold, just like other airlines have gone before. The right to take industrial action must remain but I can't help thinking this is going to result in disaster for BA staff. The dole queue looms ever closer for these people.

  • Comment number 60.

    There should of course be the right to strike and we do have that whatever Tony Woodley says. However you can not blame the employer for trying to stop the strike, especially as in this case when the very survival of the company is at stake.

    If unite want to organise a strike, it is there job to ensure that the process of doing so is done by the book so that there are no technicalities for the employer to exploit. If they failed to do this it is no-ones fault by their own that the courts found in favour of BA and it does not mean that the right to strike is dead.

  • Comment number 61.

    So many people are after a job and BA are loosing money left and right. How will the company get back in profit? They have to cut service. which means fewer planes, fewer crew. Who wins? Seems the gang out of Gatwick are able to cope on their flights? Does this mean that the crew out of Heathrow are special or the work is vastly different?

  • Comment number 62.

    There should always be a right to protest/strike.

    BUT in this case the majority of BA staff in other areas have accepted the arrangements. And now cabin staff have been roped in to a battle of egos, Tony Woodley has judged it wrong and even by inference admitted they should have accepted the original deal. The company has made record losses year on year, I'm afraid this is a turkeys and christmas scenario.

    We're all having to adjust to the real world so should they.

  • Comment number 63.

    To be honest calling off the strikes for a "trivial technicality" seems fairly justified considering the impact that the strike will have on BA and its customers. If the union were competent then they would be following the law to the letter with such important decisions. After all the union leaders are paid very well to take this kind of action so you would have thought they would get it right!

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Am I the only person who thinks that the failure to disclose the number of wasted ballot papers is much more than a "technicality"? If 7000 people voted in favour of the strike and 6000 against, wouldn't you want to know if there were 1500 wasted ballot papers which could potentially have changed the outcome? If I were a Unite union member and I was informed that a large number of papers had been wasted, I would want another ballot held to make sure the outcome was genuinely representative of the members' opinions.

  • Comment number 66.

    Well, I am confused - Are the BBC questioning the right of every human being to withdraw their labour? Are the BBC engaged in a philosophical debate concerning the validity of the Convention of Human Rights?

    unbelievable!

  • Comment number 67.

    If they want to strike, let them strike. There are plenty of other airlines to choose from if you don't want your holiday to be cancelled.

  • Comment number 68.

    Do they want to bring the airline to its knees? Someone must be behind this....many of my friends and members of my family rely on BA pensions...do they want them to lose out, too?

  • Comment number 69.

    What is interesting about this whole issue is that Unions talk about equality, equal and fair pay etc, but this dispute is about the opposite. BA cabin crews earn substantially more that of the Industry average, and all BA are trying to do is to bring them into line by not paying the inflated salaries to new staff.

    If they bring BA down they will never get another Industry job, that would be a certainty.

  • Comment number 70.

    Is the "Have Your Say" moderator on strike, or just working to rule?

  • Comment number 71.

    In certain situations, the use of unions can be extremely beneficial to the rights of an employee, especially if they think they have a case of unfair dismissal. However, holding your country to ransom and causing extreme financial instability within the company is wreckless, dangerous and ultimately self-defeating.

    If BA goes under - you're all going to be sacked! When hundreds of people are being made redundant because of this global economic recession, I'd be thankful to have a stable job.

    Constantly threatening to strike is like Turkeys voting for Christmas! I am doing a number of domestic flights over the next few months - but I'm not flying BA because of the possibility of this disruption!

  • Comment number 72.

    These matters should not get as far as the courts. When there is clearly a failure by both management and union(s) to reach settlement, a dispute should be settled by a politically independent arbitration board or committee whose decision is binding upon both parties. It should not allow the likes of Mr Walsh to build on his reputation as a no-nonsense boss, which will obviously take him on to another well-paid position when BA and the jobs of many of its staff lie in tatters. So, PLEASE, Cambo & Clegg: give us a proper, independent, professional and binding arbitration service that tackles disputes that have hit a brick wall quickly, fairly and transparently. With that in place, why should anyone need to strike?

  • Comment number 73.

    No they shouldn't.

    The UK is just coming out of one of the worst recessions in history and EVERYONE should be working together to build the economy back up and to protect jobs and British companies.

    It is estimated that BA employs 57,000 people directly and hundreds of thousands indirectly throughout the UK and the world through catering companies and handling agents. If BA declared bankruptcy then ALL these people could potentially lose their jobs over a few petty issues.

    One less cabin crew member on board BA is not going to make that much difference on long haul flights, so they have to throw some food and drinks at a few extra rows each. Hardly something to potentially lose you're job over.

    Why are cabin crew so against the new contracts for new starters? Surely if the new starters are prepared to work for less and on different schemes to the existing crew then that's their choice?

    When I worked for Britannia / Thomsonfly as crew the LOCO arm of the business had different T & Cs and the union never dreamed of a strike.

    I hope that the crew will see sense and reject a strike in the next, hopefully legal, ballot.

    BA, start a recruitment campaign! I'm sure some of the 3+ million unemployed would love a job!

  • Comment number 74.

    Yes Yes Yes!!!! BA cabin crew are people fighting for their standard of living and the standard of future workers. If the majority vote for withdrawal of labour then they have the right to do so. The courts need a major review because they are very confused. They let terrorists stay here even though they want to blow us up but tell 11000 people they cannot withdraw labour to protect their rights.
    As to those working people who are against their fellow working people withdrawing labour; i really hope that you never have to face a similar situation because, even if you are treated appallingly, you will not withdraw labour as you, obviously, have no backbone and believe the company's rights are more important than yours!!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Why would they not have the right to strike then....it would be a bad day if the right to strike was removed,i think it would be a backward step,maybe you would also like to banish trade unions and bring back child labour. Strikes are not taken lightly,its something that needs to be done,otherwise these employers would walk all over you.

  • Comment number 76.

    I am horrified at the blatent 'anti-disruption' stance of the judiciary. Of course strike action causes disruption - THAT IS THE POINT! Without disruption strike action would be futile. As a last resort, strikes have been a legitimate and, (until now) legal way to protest against the perceived injustices of employers. If the judiciary,(and therefore the state) removes that right, what collective actions are left to employees who feel unfairly treated?

  • Comment number 77.

    No they should not!

    These people are unbelievable! We are in one of the worst recessions for years and these people think they have the right to make hard working, honest peoples lives a misery by distroying holidays which these people have propably been saving very hard for a long time.

    These mindless idiots should be grateful they are still in a job!

    This country has over 2.5 million people who are unemployed who would do anything to be in their fortunate position being paid as much as they do!

    Get real BA staff and be grateful for having a job in the first place!

  • Comment number 78.

    28. At 11:31am on 18 May 2010, Sat_tire wrote:
    Why must a union be allowed to hold the general public to ransom? Why is it that they plan the strikes around times when hard working people want to go away on holiday?

    I appreciate that the right-wing media have an unwritten rule mandating the use of the phrase "holding the country / public to ransom" whenever there is a strike in the UK. But there really is no need to swallow it wholesale. How exactly does a single commercial airline go about "holding the general public to ransom" ? It's not as if there are no other airlines with which to fly, and it's not as if this dispute hasn't been in the public domain for several months now. There is no ggod time to have a strike, and there is no time when at least some people going on holiday won't be impacted by it, whether hard-working or otherwise. Although I appreciate that's another cliche that's obligatory in these situations.

  • Comment number 79.

    The strikers are on a hiding to nothing if they expect public support over the way they are handling this dispute. The company is entitled to demand that the law is followed to the letter as equally the strikers have a right to strike if they insist on it. We are in for several years of reduced expectations as a result of Labors colossal debts and the country is not going to react well to greedy people attempting to defy gravity by striking and inconveniencing the public.

  • Comment number 80.

    I have a family member who works for BA. On the whole, much as flight crew, ground crew and admin staff can't abide Willie Walsh, they can't abide cabin crew even more and are eager to see Wee Wicked Willie standing firm.
    Most BA staff who are not flight attendants feel that Unite has misled cabin crew into believing this was a winnable and justifiable dispute, when it was quite the reverse. That, plus woefully bad PR advice (proposing a Christmas strike etc), has set the rest of BA against them, not to say most of the country.

    Better to have kept their heads down than to have engaged in a confrontation in which they are guaranteed to forfeit a great deal more.

    Those who have lost their perks or their jobs were well warned in advance about their behaviour (they know what I mean) and can't claim that anything other than their own stupidity and credulousness were at fault. Willie Walsh has made a handsome pay offer in return for long-overdue concessions. They should accept it with dignity and try to rebuild their reputation which, frankly, is in ashes outside and inside the company.

  • Comment number 81.

    Do I agree with the courts decision?
    YES. To get one strike stopped on a technicality is careless, to get two is sheer incompetence. Unite deserve everything they get. I feel sorry for their members who have gone on strike (march) in good faith in what has now been deemed by the court to be an illegal strike. BA can sack every last one of them and they have very little right of appeal. BA can sue the union for losses - tens of millions of pounds. Any members who are subsequently sacked by BA due to breaching their terms & conditions should sue the union for misrepresentation.

    If I was a member of Unite I would be cancelling my subscription right about now. There's no way I'd want to be paying for their incompetence.

    I agree that we all have the right to strike if we are in a union but the union should make sure they dot all the i's and cross all the t's. It's not rocket science. PCS managed it recently. They also managed to take the employer to court on what they wished to introduced and win! Watching this all play out I've found new respect for PCS, who to be honest I never though much of.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    "Should BA workers be allowed to strike?"

    Unless we have overnight become totalitarian of course they should.

    "Should it be necessary for them to strike?"

    If they think so then that is good enough for me and should be good enough for anyone else.

    Perhaps if rules were (and had been) as rigorously applied to the financial sector as they are to trade unions the BA workers would be striking in a prosperous UK for entirely different reasons.

    It is a great pity that many correspondents on here seem prepared to denigrate anyone who wants to fight for their right to be alive and meaningful and yet are fully supportive of a bunch of greedy people who caused the collapse of our economy. Quick to judge and slow to accept criticism it appears.

  • Comment number 84.

    I don't want them to strike, and really think they all need their heads examining. To even think of striking when the company's financial situation is so dire is stupid. They have already caused tremenous damage to the company. I will never fly with them again, unless it is the only carrier on a route. I gave up flying with them 6 or 7 years after another union stopped BA flights.
    However I do think that if the cabin crew has voted to go out on strike democratically, they should have the right to strike. The courts shouldn't be using technicalities to stop them from striking.

  • Comment number 85.

    Sure, why not. Let them strike. Maybe lose BA some more business so they actually wake up, smell the roses and try to become competitive.

    Alternately, they could just sack their entire workforce and start from scratch. Even after the reduction in conditions BA still treat their workforce far better than any other airline. I'm sure in an economic climate with nearly 3million unemployed that they'll be able to find people who will snatch their hands off for jobs. At very least just employ temps to act as strikebreakers. It's a no-brainer, really.

  • Comment number 86.

    Given our current economic predicament in this country, workers should be urged not to strike in the interests of their employer, colleagues, tax revenues and customer service. A lot of people are really struggling at the moment but they are getting on with it rather than moaning.

  • Comment number 87.

    I have read BA cabin crew are some of the best paid in the industry. They have bonuses in the form of perks for themselves and family that WE, the traveller, pay for in price of ticket. Get rid of all their 'bonuses' and 'perks' and we will have cheaper travel. So - NO, NO, NO they do not have any right to strike for just 'wanting more' and being very greedy. They should consider themselves very lucky to have a job.

    Cabin crew should take note from new Government and willingly reduce their pay by 5% immediately and remove all perks!

  • Comment number 88.

    I don’t agree with this strike but I do believe if all other means have failed workers should have the option of strikes. Yet, I am more worried about the erosion of democracy in this country when ‘big companies’ use the courts on very minor technicalities to gain injunctions. This makes a mockery of our legal system and the union is correct in its analysis that striking is mere impossible in this county. This is even more concerning in an atmosphere where employers hold all the trump cards, where the rights of workers can be trampled on in an economic downturn where jobs are under threat.

  • Comment number 89.

    Do they care about their job? Dont they realise there is a recession, ash clouds and the like, and how much more can the company take before it is no more and then they will have no jobs. Why should their families get cheap flights that we the public are having to subsidise with our flight costs? Stop being greedy and un realistic!

  • Comment number 90.

    Every individual worker has the right to withdraw their labour, and that shouldn't be changed. But unions should not be allowed to organise ANY mass action that will SERIOUSLY affect the public. So no to transport strikes, no to benefit office strikes, no to strikes by hospital staff, cemetery workers, the list goes on.

    There's all sorts of other ways that the unions can inconvenience the employer without causing difficulties to the public. Surely they want the public on their side? Apparently not in this case.

  • Comment number 91.

    "#8. At 11:12am on 18 May 2010, Chris wrote:
    Yes - definately, or we are all just slaves with a pay cheque."

    I hate to break it to you Chris....

  • Comment number 92.

    Effectively they DID strike although they were told they would lose perks if they did ...

    So those that did strike knew the consequences ... but they then strike again to try to get the perks back ? be real.

    This is a recession and as usual the Unions do not listen but instead wish to destroy industry .. blinkered antagonistic selfish stupid ... good bye British Airways - such a shame. I cannot stand flying on cut-price carriers but am being left with less choice now.

  • Comment number 93.

    BA workers have the legal right to strike provided the ballot is conducted in a proper manner. It's all very well for Tony Woodley to complain, but if he can't make sure that ballots follow legal procedure then what exactly is he doing to justify his six figure salary?

    I wish the question were worded diffently however because although BA clearly have a right to strike I think they are mad to do so. They are already the best paid cabin crew in the UK and they run the serious risk of killing the proverbial golden goose if they harm BA's business by their actions as BA may have no choice but to cut staff levels.

    Perhaps BA staff feel that if Tony Woodley was entitled to a 20% pay rise last year then so are they!

  • Comment number 94.

    "#37. At 11:42am on 18 May 2010, djangoman wrote:
    Yes every worker should have the right to strike the courts are not always right they have hung innocent people in the past they should have the right to appeal."

    How do these hung people appeal?

  • Comment number 95.

    Of course anyone should be allowed to strike.

    Equally, the Unions and Employers should follow the law in these issues and if one side or the other is stupid enough not to do things properly then they've got to expect that the other side will go to the courts.

    Whining about the judges won't help. Just make sure you do things right in the first place...

  • Comment number 96.

    In any reasonable society it would be accepted that BA Employees had overwhelmingly decided to strike. However, the Courts have decided that they 'did follow the letter of the law', literally. Fine, so be it. However I do hope that the Courts will act with similar due diligence and support for, the letter of the law, when they are deciding whether Employers/Managers treat employees in a cavalier fashion without ensuring THEY carry out their actions, 'to the letter of the law'. I can remember employees being sacked via e mail/text. Very deomcratic. I just hope that this interpretaion of the law comes back and bites Employers in the backside. They started this sillines, let us hope they reap the reward.
    However, the Unions now know where the lines are drawn and it is up to them to be as clever/devious as Employers the their smart alec lawyers.

  • Comment number 97.

    Napolean's loyal dogs of authority drive away Co-operation.

  • Comment number 98.

    Totally agree with poster No 3. If I was in Unite I'd be asking myself if Tony Woodley is worth his six figure salary!

  • Comment number 99.

    Bigmac68 wrote "The judge's decision in this case doesn't undermine the right to strike but does undermine the impartiality of the judiciary."

    I am confused why a judgement on a clear point of law would undermine the impartiality of the judiciary - there is no implication here that the judiciary has taken a view which prejudices the right of Unite workers to legally strike.

    We have very clear laws in the UK which support the right to have legal strikes. If a union fails to follow the laws then it leaves itself open to legal challenge. The union is not being prevented from striking, it's simply being told that it's ballot is not binding because of the way it was carried out. If it fulfils the requirements under the law the strike will go ahead.

    On the other hand, I would say that BA's actions have reduced the likelihood of a negotiated settlement and increased the chance of wildcat striking in the future.

  • Comment number 100.

    Of course the unions members have every right to strike, it is their legal right to do so.
    If any one thing is at fault it's the judge who has used a very very pedantic technicality to judge the strike unlawful.
    you have to remember these anti union laws were written by the Thatcher government who was in effect the political wing of capitalism and who did her best to destroy any rights that the worker had so that they could be exploited to full effect.
    I will no longer use BA, not because of the strikes but because of the way BA's ceo treats his staff.

 

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