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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II

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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II

Old 11th Sep 2010, 20:05
  #1981 (permalink)  
 
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PR,

I agree with the workforce percentage, even if the TUC don't, but my thoughts are not so much about 50%+1, rather the possibility of 49.9% not being members and getting a payrise for free.

As to honest managers, if the suspended and sack reps are found to have been treated unfairly, then what should happen to the BA management team, or do you count removing the problem of a strong union, just part of the bigger picture of protecting the business and therefore for the greater good?
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 20:20
  #1982 (permalink)  
 
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Phil Rigg, you asked
This would eliminate the ludicrous situation we currently have of BASSA claiming 75% support for the strike (after excluding non-union staff and union staff who are not at Heathrow, etc., etc.) when the truth is more like only 27% of the entire workforce who are eligible to join BASSA.

How can the law permit and protect so few people in being able to cause so much damage to so many?
Actually there is no need for a law change. Look at the BA situation. A significant majority voted for strike action, yet when it came to the crunch, the actual numbers who walked out were fewer than ths who voted for action. What we had was a situation where the strike was rendered ineffective because of the numbers of non-union cabin crew plus the union members who presumably didn't vote for strike action, plus those members who voted for action, but had second thoughts on the day. The mistake BASSA have consistently made is in failing to find a cause that is sufficiently strong that it will get the needed support from all its members. The basis of strike action earlier this year was not going to win any support in LGW because they are already working to this arrangement and BASSA's suggested cost savings would have seen cuts in their wages to support LHR crews. LCY aren't involved either. Hence two out of three bases were going to work normally. At LHR, the people who had most to gripe about were the CSDs , so they were bound to vote for action. BASSA are still making the same mistake as now they seem to be angling for reinstatement of sacked staff and return of staff travel with seniority. The only folk who will actively support that will be those who went on strike. Now that is likely to give them a majority in favour of strike action, but they will account for only 50% of all cabin crew (roughly). So once again any strike call will fail dismally.

Everyone has the right to strike, just as every employer has the right to not pay and dismiss staff who, by failing to come to work, are in breach of their employment contract.
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 20:31
  #1983 (permalink)  
 
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As to honest managers, if the suspended and sack reps are found to have been treated unfairly, then what should happen to the BA management team, or do you count removing the problem of a strong union, just part of the bigger picture of protecting the business and therefore for the greater good?

I think you'll find the process that results in suspension/sacking by managers is somewhat more robust - normally - than the one that governs statements and instructions and even actions by union reps.

I once had had a T&G rep complain to me that disciplinarys were "fixed" as almost all of them resulted in some sort of sanction - I pointed out that it was more due to the reasonable process that meant it never got as far as a disciplinary unless there was "just cause" ....


Personally I'll be surprised if BA haven't been meticulous about both the process and the sanctions applied.
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 20:52
  #1984 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 42psi View Post
Personally I'll be surprised if BA haven't been meticulous about both the process and the sanctions applied.
You are probably right, although with almost 20% of the current reps suspended or sacked, if yo believe what is stated elsewhere, then although the process followed may be 100%, the actual decisions and subsequent sanctions do appear to be dispropotionaly harsh. No doubt all will be made clear at some time in the future.
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 22:21
  #1985 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42psi
Personally I'll be surprised if BA haven't been meticulous about both the process and the sanctions applied.

You are probably right, although with almost 20% of the current reps suspended or sacked, if yo believe what is stated elsewhere, then although the process followed may be 100%, the actual decisions and subsequent sanctions do appear to be dispropotionaly harsh. No doubt all will be made clear at some time in the future.
Hard to tell if the decisions and sanctions have been OTT. The only way that anyone will find out is if the dismissed individual goes to a tribunal, in which case it all comes out.

The union bunch are claiming that some of the sackings have been for trivial offences. The snag with that is that BA would be damned foolish if they provided Unite with any hint that they had been less than scrupulously fair. Given the degree of care the company has exercised so far in doing nothing that gives Unite any possible legal lever, I can't believe that they would make a mistake now. I'm not saying that BA is whiter than white, just that based on their track record in handling this dispute so far, I think it unlikely that they have made any errors.
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 22:53
  #1986 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Colonel White View Post
The union bunch are claiming that some of the sackings have been for trivial offences
It should not be too hard to stay out of trouble, if you knew that 3 or 4 of your fellow reps have been sacked, but the words used lead you to believe that their was smoke for the fired.
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 23:18
  #1987 (permalink)  
 
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My vote for the most interesting and creative phrase used in the past 30 days on this forum:

but the words used lead you to believe that their was smoke for the fired.
I also note some commentary on the Cabin Crew forum regarding a participant of BASSA's forum stating that all commentary placed there has some special standing regarding exposure.

For Heaven's sake, can BASSA save themselves from these "legal experts" that have no idea of what they speak of? The internet is rather an open "buffet" of thought and opinon....and you don't get to choose your fellow diners.

Much like Mr. Holley thought himself "untouchable" due to the fact that he views himself as answerable to BA only, others might do well to learn that you have the freedom to make yourself heard, but you don't get to select those who may be listening.

My personal advice, having used these sort of statements in situations in the past, is that if you don't wish to be thought of as a "Godawful, simple minded, my family reunion is a dating opportunity" sort of individual, don't post as such. Problem solved.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 01:59
  #1988 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by just an observer View Post
Staff travel could be an issue, it's clear that any other branches that may at some time in the future have a genuine greivance and need to strike, will also lose staff travel, once BA have done that successfully once, it will become the norm.
If, unlike BASSA, another branch actually has a good reason to strike, then they'll presumably win and make return of their staff travel a condition of returning to work.

The reason why BASSA aren't getting their staff travel back is because there was so little justification for striking that there was no way they could win; they couldn't get enough of their members on strike to cripple operations and they managed to turn the rest of the company against them by striking over such a minor issue. I doubt any other branch would be striking in similar circumstances.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 08:55
  #1989 (permalink)  
 
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You are probably right, although with almost 20% of the current reps suspended or sacked, if yo believe what is stated elsewhere, then although the process followed may be 100%, the actual decisions and subsequent sanctions do appear to be dispropotionaly harsh. No doubt all will be made clear at some time in the future.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there ... the key issue is unlikely to be the process.

It will hinge around the sanction itself.

For anyone who has been part of such a process I think they will probably tell you that having been determined at a disciplinary to have breached company regulations etc .. the next stage is usually a recess.

This is the point at which the disciplining manager considers what an appropriate sanction might be.

Having this "break to consider and consult" is something that endears the process to tribunals ... it demonstrates that the process had not pre-determined the outcome.

The recess can be a few minutes or even days.

This is the point where the manager asks HR to provide information on how such breaches have been dealt with before, the implications of the various sanctions being considered and any other salient points.

This is to ensure that the sanction applied is consistent with past treatment of staff in a similar situation, consistent with the present policies of the company.

A manager might well express that they are minded to apply a particular sanction, but it would be a very foolish person who did not take good account of the HR advice at this point.

Also any manager conducting a disciplinary knows that there is an appeal process and eventually a potential industrial tribunal - no-one wants to find that their sanctions are regularly overruled at appeal.

After the recess the decision is presented to the staff member along with an explanation of the appeal process. This is followed up with something like "I shall write to you confirming this decision and an explanation of the appeal process within xx days"




If the treatment of those reps sacked is not consistent with how the company have treated staff (and their status as reps plays no part in this) in similar positions in the past then it is likely to weaken the company position - but BA know this and again I say I'll be surprised if they don't already have examples ready to prove it.


There is also another key message that BA employees would do well to note.

It means that for the quoted offences considered at disciplinary then you now know without doubt what the sanction is always likely to be in the future.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 10:40
  #1990 (permalink)  
 
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I think only 3 reps have been sacked. One failed to turn up for work on 6 occasions. One set up a web site attempting to hijack web searches for BA and direct them to hard core gay porn. Is the sanction of dismissal too harsh for that kind of behaviour? Can you think of another company where attempting to link the companys name (and other associated groups) with hard core gay porn on the internet would be tolerated?
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 12:49
  #1991 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Timothy Claypole View Post
I think only 3 reps have been sacked.
That is what I think to, with another 2 recently suspended. Porngate, well what can you say? When I saw it, it was a shock, (I was searching for the PCCC and got the site, some good pictures as I am not a sensitive bunny), but DH is more interesting. When I was a BA, in my department, a position with the union at that level was full time. The chair was supposedly on the shift strength of the highest paying shift (permanent nights in TBJ) within BA, but hadn't seen a sunset at work for years.

The BASSA branch is much bigger, so I imagine he was full time too, until the dispute started. Would or could the branch secretary become an implied full time position and therefore custom and practice, so requiring flying duties, just to stay in check. That is how I see any potential appeal, but I am sure we would all have heard about it, if this was the case.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 13:09
  #1992 (permalink)  
 
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The BASSA branch is much bigger, so I imagine he was full time too, until the dispute started. Would or could the branch secretary become an implied full time position and therefore custom and practice, so requiring flying duties, just to stay in check. That is how I see any potential appeal, but I am sure we would all have heard about it, if this was the case.
I think this may all be academic as I think it will be a cold day in hell before BA re-employ DH - even if he were to win an appeal all he will gain is a little money. As soon as the elections within BASSA occur, he becomes an irrelevance. So in historic terms DH is a busted flush, it is a certainty that this dispute will end and when that happens it is all over for DH unless UNITE decide they want him on their payroll, which I personally doubt.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 13:14
  #1993 (permalink)  
 
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Litebulbs,
no matter what historic agreements BA had with bassa about what its reps could and couldn't do, and how they were paid whilst "on TU duties" BA will have a rock solid case for the ending of all the facilities. Whilst I've never worked for BA, I suspect that there will be a set of entirely plausible actions and decisons based not on BA's behaviour, but on bassa's behaviour.

For instance, once bassa said that it would not negotiate with BA, and passed that resolution at a Branch meeting, BA would be fully entitled to both close the reps office, (and all its facilities) and to re-scedule all of the reps to work, (rather than be permanently removed from work schedules).

Thus, there is no potential finding by an ET that DH was employed as "a rep" when he refused to attend work. BA's paperwork will be robust on this subject.
............and if it isn't, I suspect they will not care.

Don't forget, ET's cannot substitute their judgement for that of the employer. All the employer needs to do is to argue that their actions were within the range of reasonable responses that any employer might have.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 13:38
  #1994 (permalink)  
 
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AO

Some reasonable points, but it would need visibility of the recognition agreement, to see facilities for reps to clear it up. BA are bound by the agreement and I imagine that there would be a clause for them to serve notice on it, but not change it unilaterally. If the branch secretary position is full time, then that is what it is, but I do not know.

However, if this action can be proved to be targeting a union representative for his activities, it will automatically be unfair, rather than the range of reasonable responses test for non attendance.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 13:44
  #1995 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Juan Tugoh View Post
I think this may all be academic as I think it will be a cold day in hell before BA re-employ DH - even if he were to win an appeal all he will gain is a little money.
I agree, although it could be a sizeable amount of money, if you compare it to cabin crew market rate +10%

However, if it is found that he was dismissed unfairly, then it would add more weight to union busting. But, I am sure that all of the press to come out of the BASSA camp, will be noted and used against them at Tribunal, but we shall see.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 13:59
  #1996 (permalink)  
 
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Litebulbs - yes, what you say makes sense.

I do remember that DH posted something at the time of his dismissal that BA refused to de-roster him and that he decided that it was more important to do union work than turn up for his rostered duties. This posting, which I cannot be bothered to look up but is out there in the public domain, may well come back to bite DH hard. It may cost him both any ET verdict and potential unfair dismissal compensation.

It would not be the first ill-advised posting from the BASSA leadership, LM's comments wrt members leaving on VR being entitled to vote for IA that they could not possibly take part in would be one of these.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 15:04
  #1997 (permalink)  
 
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Juan

Not only on the forum, Duncan, live, on the Victoria Derbyshire show admitted that his union work was more important than fulfilling his obligation to work for British Airways despite being payed a basic wage of 45K to do so
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 15:15
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Originally Posted by dogandduck View Post
Not only on the forum, Duncan, live, on the Victoria Derbyshire show admitted that his union work was more important than fulfilling his obligation to work for British Airways despite being payed a basic wage of 45K to do so
But, if the working relationship between BA and BASSA was good, then it would be money well spent, but I am going to say that!
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 19:07
  #1999 (permalink)  
 
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The way it works for cabin crew is that reps are given a normal roster and all scheduled meetings have to be applied for in advance of this. BA were always very good on this point. Sometimes meetings come up post roster publication and, again, BA would usually deroster for these (including purely on TU business).

What was never acceptable for TU reps to do was take themselves of of a rostered trip. It did sometimes occur but BA would chastise the rep. In times of Industrial strife BA always get more restrictive and in the case of DH it should be noted what time of year this happened. Christmas for reps would always be easy to get time off, however if you were threatening strikes over Christmas period this facility would be withdrawn and the reps would keep their roster or get standby instead.

I would guess BA will have a watertight case on this and will be able to quote chapter and verse on the TU deroster facilities if it comes to a IT.
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Old 12th Sep 2010, 19:46
  #2000 (permalink)  
 
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Office Hours

One thing I do note is both threads are quieter outside of office hours!
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