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British Airways: Industrial Action at British Airways is just the start of an increasingly bitter dispute at BA warns Andy Cook, CEO, of Employee Relations Advisory Firm, Marshall-James

As controversy continues with politicians and the PM condemning the walk out of BA Cabin Crew this weekend, Andy Cook of Marshall-James, says cool heads and common sense are absolutely paramount in order for BA and UNITE to reach an amicable deal.

“The issue here is that there is a real power struggle emerging between the union and senior management at BA for control of the airline and neither side can be seen to back down. What makes a resolution even more distant is the possibility that some individuals within the union maybe using the strike as a platform to raise their own profile in time for the election of General Secretary of the UK’s biggest union, UNITE”.

“Adding to the complexity of the situation is that cabin crew are generally a very difficult group to communicate with as they are geographically spread across the world and therefore have little or no contact with their line manager. This makes engaging with cabin crew on the issues facing the airline very difficult”.

BA Management appears to be making reasonable requests of the Cabin Crew, including no compulsory redundancies and no forced pay cuts. Other employees have voluntarily taken pay cuts and made efficiencies in order to reduce costs. The cabin crew is in real danger of further isolating itself from other parts of the airline”.

“Our experience of disputes in the airline industry has shown that a small group of militants can often dictate the majority view. It appears that more industrial unrest will emerge in the UK during 2010 as unions continue to push for strikes in order to secure pay deals and block the modernisation of terms and conditions in some sectors”.


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