BASSA/Unite have announced a strike ballot to run 21 December 2010-21 January 2011.
It will be interesting to see how far its numbers have diminished since it pulled the total off its own website when it reached 9,279 down from a peak of over 11,000 in 2009.
Any action will have zero impact on London City and London Gatwick flights, whose employees do not support the action. At Heathrow BA will run 100% of longhaul and a high proportion of shorthaul services even if action takes place (highly unlikely, and in any case far more cabin crew voted to strike than actually withdrew their labour).
The BASSA Unite branch has engineered this strike ballot to culminate on 21 January; the day Willie Walsh departs BA to become CEO of IAG Group. This demonstrates the highly personal and political purpose of this strike, rather than any underlying desire to address the welfare of cabin crew.
Second, BASSA has failed to articulate a “new” reason for this action; striking would be “unprotected” and therefore strikers face being sacked by BA without recourse to suing for wrongful dismissal. Even if the action was declared “protected” (highly unlikely) BA would be able to sack strikers without any legal compulsion to re-instate, even if wrongful dismissal was proven. BASSA and Unite have failed to articulate this to their members in advance of the ballot.
Problem is, of course, that the real militants don’t do anything as daft as strike and risk being sacked – sickness, long term illness, rosters all come into play to ensure it’s the poor, misled cannon fodder crew who will end up getting the chop.
Personally, I think BA will maintain the moral high ground and retain those who take action, but will certainly have grounds to sue Unite for disruption and illegal action; that could be a very big bill indeed.
In a third own-goal the 21 January end date leaves just 12 weeks – or until 17 April – for action to take place. That’s five days short of the Easter Holidays, when disruption would have been most effective.
You really couldn’t make it up! What a total shambles BASSA is.