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Unite throws down gauntlet to BA over attempt to sack and re-hire tens of thousands of staff on reduced terms – and begins legal action for defamation

Assistant general secretary issues video explaining union’s position and plans to British Airways members

Unite the Union has thrown down the gauntlet to British Airways over the airline’s issuing of redundancy notices to 42,000 employees – of whom it then wants to re-employ 30,000 on worse pay and benefits.

The union’s Howard Beckett has sent out a video message to Unite’s BA members explaining the situation and BA’s ‘fire and re-hire’ manoeuvre.

But Beckett also told members that Unite has begun legal action against the airline for defamation, after BA defended its decision to issue the redundancy notices by claiming that the union had sued defunct airline Monarch for failing to do so, when this was “disingenuous and untrue”:

Once again a left-run union is standing strongly with working-class people and taking all steps to win for its members. If you’re not in a union, join one – and even if you’re out of work, Unite’s Community section can help you enjoy the benefits of union solidarity.

BA was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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6 comments

  1. Good luck I hope they win , the staff have noting to loose , and BA customers , well depends if they want to travel on an expensive version of Ryan Air or not , same crap , just pay more for it .
    Fly BA the Worlds most famously crap expensive airline , take a curtsey Willy Walsh .

  2. People forget it wasnt that long ago British Airways was the national flag carrier, my advice dont give any of them the lickings of a dog, let them go bust and we get them back for nothing
    That’s capatalism for you, live by the sword, creative destruction and moral hazard

    1. Doug, I agree with you but the problem that I see is that we have a Tory government, so no much of a chance that they will nationalise BA. I don’t believe the Tories would allow BA to go bust, rather they would support and enforce massive level of redundancies, that would affect the workers more than it would affect the fat cats at BA..
      BA has millions in reserve, so it can afford to keep all the existing staff on the same terms and conditions and perhaps negotiate early retirement for workers over 55 years of age on good conditions (enhancing pensions by a maximum of 12 years) and temporary 4 days working week until business pick up. It would result in workers having a 20% cut on their wages, but the Trade Unions should negotiate for the government to pick up the 20% so that workers keep their full salaries.
      It would work for the government too because, it wouldn’t cost more than it would cost making welfare payments for 12K workers, that would be fire otherwise and possibly welfare payments to the others as by earning less, they could qualify for payments towards their rent etc. Hence, easier, less costly and more effective for the government to top up to their existing salaries.
      Plus keeping workers with money in their pockets it would help to stimulate the economy. It isn’t only the 12K BA workers that would lose their jobs but other areas in the economy that would be affected. We live in an economy driving by consumerism, if BA workers lose their ability to consume at their present level, it would be bad for the economy as a whole.
      I believe this is one of the argument the Trade Unions have to be put forward to the government. It isn’t only about protecting the interest of BA shareholders, but the whole economy: less money around, less profits around for other shareholders, more job loses and the potential for increased social unrest.

      1. Thing about shareholders is they’re too stupid en masse to realise that there are no alternative places to invest that are guaranteed bulletproof so letting BA fail doesn’t make economic sense.
        They’d lose a comparatively tiny amount by giving BA a ‘holiday’ and funding them enough to keep paying all their employees’ normal wages and keep all the planes and equipment ready for service.
        If the banks in 2007 had just let those sub-prime borrowers they feared might default, go ahead and default, some of them would – they’d have still owned the properties, and many borrowers wouldn’t default – then the crash wouldn’t have happened, the investors would have lost little instead of big and it would have been back to business as usual in a few months.
        Investors panic and run screaming at the slightest creak of a floorboard.
        We can’t afford to let idiots run the Earth any longer – they act as if there’s another planet ready to move into when they’ve finished breaking this one.

  3. Pity the union that has to deal with Wee willie Walsh,whilst I worked for civil rights in in my youth,in N Ireland this chief executive of British airways ran with the UVF terror gangs and ken Barret Shankill butchers who butchered young Catholics using a Chainsaw..This keen supporter of the Conservative and unionist party will probably get a knighthood and a retirement plan in the Lordys on the back of the working-class that hes exploited all his life.The thug has the establishment covering his back just like the departed Rev Ian paisley(privey council and Lordys.?Drain the Sewer

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