(en) What's happening at British Airways?

Aaron (aaron@burn.ucsd.edu)
Sun, 6 Jul 1997 01:14:42 -0400

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Comrades and other friends,

It seems that the union-busting campaign at British Airways (see below) is another one of those capitalist attacks undertaken in the (unfortunately usually justified) belief that the working class will, under trade-union guidance, confine its fight-back to methods that don't violate the bosses' laws. Maybe we can give them a surprise in this case.

Airlines, as very public, international operations, are particularly vulnerable to diverse forms of attack. No, I don't mean blowing up their planes! Not unless they're empty. {;->} I won't, in this post at least, go into detail, except to say that, in a struggle like this, we -- those on the side of the working class -- should declare war on the offending corporation, including on its executives as individuals. It's high time to break with the capitalist fiction that officers of a corporation are not personally liable for their acts on behalf of the corporation. End impunity for capitalists!

To be clear, I'm not saying that British Airways executives, or similar union-busters, are deserving of the death penalty. In other words, they are not, as far as I know, in the same category of corporate criminal that includes, among many others, the executives of Shell, who are guilty of mass murder in Nigeria and elsewhere, and tobacco traffickers, who are guilty of mass murder everywhere.

* * * * * * *

In addition to the article reproduced below, there is an earlier (9 June) article on the struggle at British Airways at the ITF web site. The URL is http://www.itf.org.uk/english/sba.html. I'm also hoping to have answers (probably after the weekend) to some questions I posted to the ITF mailing list. The questions include:

Who is on strike now? How many workers are involved? When did the strike(s) start and what has been the effect so far. What are other groups of BA workers doing? Are they also unionized? Are they scabbing? What is the text of the threatening letter sent to employees?

If anybody out there has answers to any of these questions, or any questions I forgot to ask, please post them (with Cc to me, please).

-- In solidarity, -- Aaron

>From: Flint_Richard@itf.org.uk
>Date: Fri, 4 Jul 97 16:07:38 +0100
>Subject: ITF Info No. 10
>To: itf@listbox.itf.org.uk, #l#london#r#_everybody/itf_london@austin
>Sender: itf-request@listbox.itf.org.uk
>[Article from] ITF Info
>International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) .
>Issue #10, July 4, 1997
>49-60 Borough Road London, England, SE1 1DS
>Tel: +44 171-403-2733/Fax: +44 171-357-7871
>e-mail: info@itf.org.uk
>webpage: http://www.itf.org.uk
>The message is "No Way BA"
>British Airways is engaged in the most highly organised and well funded union
>busting operation ever seen in the airline industry anywhere in the world.
>If BA
>succeeds it will send a signal to every airline in the world and one which
>of those airlines will be able to ignore.
>The current strike by cabin crew has come after BA proposed radical new
>conditions involving longer hours for less pay. The dispute however, is not
>about conditions but the company's absolute refusal to negotiate these
>conditions with the union.
>The company reached a deal with a small breakaway union and then refused to
>negotiate with ITF affiliate, the Transport and General Workers' Union which
>represents the overwhelming majority of cabin crew. The company's position is:
>it will not talk - It will impose.
>The company has engaged in shocking tactics of intimidation of union members.
>These include sending to every crew member at home, a written threat that they
>will be dismissed and sued individually for any loss of business that BA
>as a result of strike action.
>The company has recruited an army of strike breakers from agencies and
>among its
>own management in a strike breaking plan called "Operation Snow Plan". None of
>this stopped a 73 per cent postal vote of union members in favour of 72 hour
>rolling strikes.
>Despite the company's massive strike breaking effort, it will have a major
>struggle to get flights into the air. The ITF is requesting all its civil
>aviation affiliates at every airport in the world where BA flies to take all
>possible steps to show solidarity during the strike period and to ensure that
>the company knows that if the world's most ruthless airline comes to your
>airport the message is "No Way BA".

---------- aaron@burn.ucsd.edu http://burn.ucsd.edu/~aaron

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