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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II

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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions II

Old 20th Sep 2010, 23:08
  #2121 (permalink)  
 
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A few points about the 1997 dispute. Bob Ayling was a lawyer, so would have had a reasonable view of the legal ins and outs. The points laid out then were a combination of direct possibilities (dismissal for breach of contract, liability for damages) consequential actions (removal of staff travel) plus punitive measures (no promotion, removed from any options for early retirement or severance available under various re-structuring schemes).

BA has had two changes in CEO since Ayling, neither of whom have opted to resurrect the global tailfins, so it is not guaranteed that when the current incumbent said that staff travel would be withdrawn, it mean that it would be returned with full seniority. The point I'm making is just because one CEO acts in a particular way is no guarantee that others will follow suit. Moreover, my understanding is that previously staff travel was not universally withdrawn, but only applied to those who went on strike.

If the unions had considered BA's actions to be aimed at preventing staff from exercising their right to strike, why did they not pursue this in 1997 ? There has been no change in the TULRCA.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 04:09
  #2122 (permalink)  
 
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Litebulbs

But the question is whether BA have the right to do what they did.
And the answer is yes they do - until or unless the courts decide otherwise. That's how it operates, you can do whatever you like until the legal system (or Parliament) decides otherwise. In all honesty, continuing to go on about it is pretty pointless, they can and have done it. At some point in the future it may be decided they couldn't, but as of right now, they can.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 04:33
  #2123 (permalink)  
 
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Given that the courts found BA's actions in removing one crew member to be reasonable, this implies that BASSA's industrial action was unreasonable; in fact I wondered why BA aren't suing BASSA for the damage inflicted on their business.

So before the issue of ST is dealt with, let this one be concluded.

It is my humble opinion that since one was a direct result of the other, they should not be dealt with by the courts as as separate issue, but as connected events.

However, Litebulbs would have us believe that it is legitimate for a union to inflict serious financial damage on a company even when it is not reasonable to do so, and that they cannot face any sanction for doing so. This may be true, but it is wrong in my opinion.

Litebulbs has it that BA's actions in removing ST were also wrong.

Since two wrongs don't make a right, I'd suggest the courts adjust accordingly.

Then you have the possible scenario of (a) BA taking GBP150 million off BASSA to make up the losses unreasonably inflicted upon them, and then (b) BA giving strikers back ST and giving them the tickets they would have used when they were unavailable (which can easily be calculated based on previous use).

(Should each party win their respective cases, I would accept punitive damages to be equal and therefore cancelled out).

I believe this would be fair.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 05:28
  #2124 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Papillon View Post
And the answer is yes they do - until or unless the courts decide otherwise. That's how it operates, you can do whatever you like until the legal system (or Parliament) decides otherwise. In all honesty, continuing to go on about it is pretty pointless, they can and have done it. At some point in the future it may be decided they couldn't, but as of right now, they can.
I agree and said as much a few posts ago. I have been hoping that somebody would have produced a case where a benefit was removed, due to industrial action. As nobody has, this case will be ground breaking and as some have said, may stir the current Government into legislation changes.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 06:16
  #2125 (permalink)  
 
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I believe that's because (from my vague reading of the matter) it isn't a problem under English law, but it might (perhaps, maybe, possibly) be something that European law has a view on.Therefore it's not surprising that there hasn't been a test case, because it's only very recently there's been anything to even remotely suggest a case.

(Not a lawyer caveats etc etc)
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 07:45
  #2126 (permalink)  
 
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Making offers that are worse than their predecessors is not punishment but financial necessity.If a union has called a strike there will be an immediate hit on bookings.when the strike takes place there is also the potential loss in revenue. If the company is expected to magically conjure up more cash,it has to come from somewhere. Sadly in this case the procrastination by cabin crew means they are the last group to settle.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 08:10
  #2127 (permalink)  
 
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I see the latest rumour from BASSA is that BA has appointed Savils to sell Waterside!

Sorry to disappoint the BASSA acolytes, but WW is staying in the UK and IAG will have its own offices in the UK.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 08:14
  #2128 (permalink)  
 
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I think from the below that BA would be perfectly entitled to ask the court to adjourn this hearing until after the October case is finished.

Unite is to launch a legal battle at the High Court this week over the removal of travel perks for up to 7,000 cabin crew who went on strike for 22 days this year at a cost to BA of 150m.

The dispute over travel perks, which include heavily discounted fares, are a bitter point of dispute between BA and Unite.

A date has not been set for the appearance but Unite said it is expected before the end of the week.

A Unite spokesperson said: We are being forced to defend our members and their rights to just treatment in the court room because BA refuses to play fairly at the negotiating table.

In a similar move, Unite will come head to head with the British flag-carrier in the Court of Appeal on 11 and 12 October, over claims that BAs reduction of crew numbers on long-haul flights was a breach of contract.

Unite took BA to the High Court earlier this year over the disagreement, but the court threw out the dispute and ruled in BAs favour.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 09:55
  #2129 (permalink)  
 
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How about 6,700 as a better estimate of the number of cabin crew who have lost their travel concessions?
BA is also in the high court this week, as Unite seeks legal redress for the removal of travel concessions from an estimated 6,700 flight attendants who joined 22 days of strikes this year. Meanwhile, the union is taking a dispute over the treatment of industrial ballots to the European court of human rights after a cabin crew strike vote was ruled unlawful last year.

The root cause of the dispute, the unilateral reduction of staffing levels on flights, is also being taken to the court of appeal next month by Unite, which says the move constitutes a breach of contract. So far, the high court has backed BA's assertion that crewing levels are not a contractual issue.
______Reference:- _______Guardian
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 10:07
  #2130 (permalink)  
 
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Reply to Bengerman (the other thread)

Wikipedia says
The High Court deals at first instance with all high value and high importance cases, and also has a supervisory jurisdiction over all subordinate courts and many (but not all) tribunals.
The quotation in posting 2143 is possibly more reliable since it does not use the word "appeal".

Last edited by notlangley; 21st Sep 2010 at 10:25.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 10:14
  #2131 (permalink)  
 
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Loss of ST

Whilst I have sympathy for Litebulbs' position, - crudely put that strikers should not be punished for going on strike - we have to examine the law to decide what protection strikers actually have.

The starting point is the contract between an individual (CC) and the employer (BA).
1. Protected from breach.
If a CC withdraws their labour, they are in breach of their contract. The protection from a "protected" dispute is simple - BA can only dismiss them unfairly. - They can still be dismissed, but it will be automatically unfair if the dispute is protected. If the dispute is not protected, BA can dismiss them with no fear of an ET, if they follow a reasonable (not "fair" ) process.
There is a debate to be had about UK law, and whether or not it meets EU requirements, but we are years away from debating this. The EU can only enforce its law directly opposite a State - the UK Government.

The point that really concerns the TUs is the second point.
2. Protected from inciting a breach.
If the dispute is a protected dispute, the TU is protected from civil litigation by the employer when it incites a person to act in breach of their contract. If the dispute is not protected, ANY action by an Official of a TU which might be seen as inciting an individual to breach their contract leaves the TU open for civil litigation for unlimited damages, (and for injunctions).
You'll remember the speed of Unite in rushing out a denial of the window blinds instruction from the junta. You'll also note the Unite rules - only the Exec can authorise ANY action. This is an attempt to protect the TUs assets, which BA could attack if unofficial action takes place in any way authorised by any Official.

So, it all turns on the contract. Was ST in the contract or not? If it was not, then BA can withdraw it whenever/however they decide. If it was in the contract, they can't.

End of. Simples.

The law might be "wrong", but that's how it is.

Faced with bassa's behaviour, (read the court case), BA probably felt they had no option but to do what they did.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 10:16
  #2132 (permalink)  
 
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How about 6,700 as a better estimate of the number of cabin crew who have lost their travel concessions?
It's going to be extremely interesting to see how many BASSA can actually prove, rather than the number in Duncan Donut and Mark Eversohard's pot luck DBase II (remember that?) database.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 10:46
  #2133 (permalink)  
 
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BA state that they have removed ST from c4920 cabin crew. BASSA claim they have processed c6700 claims for strike pay. Given BASSA's track record on precise admin I suspect that their numbers will not bear as close a scrutiny as those of BA.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:18
  #2134 (permalink)  
 
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Huh! it looks as though I'll be commenting on here for a while. I've just tried to book in online for my flight.
To cut a long story short, the lady from BA customer services has told me that I can't - apparently I have a "booking", but according to BA I do not have a "ticket"

Partly in reply to JSL and others, I thought I'd come back to BA for L/H, and I made a booking MONTHS ago.

Now, they will not guarantee me a flight, and I have to go to the airport to get a ticket - I can't pay over the phone.

Clearly, BA either do not want or do not deserve customers.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:26
  #2135 (permalink)  
 
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Can anybody explain to me why an organisation with 10,000 (??) , members paying 15 per month each does not employ professional staff to look after membership records, ballot organising etc. These tasks require no special sector industry knowledge. Surely, sensible convention would be that the reps represent members interest rather than undertaking the time consuming administrative minutiae ? Nor is it reasonable that an employer is compelled to release an individual rep to undertake such duties, whilst being paid by the employer ?

I can understand a union branch of say 50 people needing to do the admin voluntarily, but for a group with membership fees exceeding 1.8m pa it beggars belief. Or is there some ulterior reason for the union branch to organise this way ?
I and many others have questioned this for many years. Where does all the money go, where are the audited figures for the membership to see, how much exactly goes to Unite, who is on the payroll of Bassa ( I recently found out that 2 of Bassa's biggest crew supporters ( CSD's)) were in fact auditors for Bassa. How much are they paid etc? It only came to light in the last 6 months that the reps were paid 100/day for 'office' duties, because DH tried to explain where his money was earnt from after an expose from the Daily Mail.. There are SO many unanswered questions still to this day. All I have ever wanted is a professional union run by professional people and Bassa have for years falied on both counts. With 1.8 million/year one could have EXPECTED better but alas no.


On a lighter note I was in my local supermarket yesterday selecting some tomatoes ( Oh my, how my days just fly by!! ) There were some grown in Hants, Sussex and Kent. Thought I'd better not take a chance on the Hants variety. Just 2 mins later a call was put out for a Mr. Holley to come to the desk!!. I kid you not. I was half expecting Mr Tomorite to be seen carrying his best cherry variety to the veg dept.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:26
  #2136 (permalink)  
 
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My experience of previous IA was all staff travel privileges removed for a period of 1 or 2 years for all strikers, but returned with full seniority
My experience as a spouse of BA staff is that ST was returned immediately on settlement of the dispute, with full seniority. (3 times to my spouse)

My point was not so much the right or wrong of removing it permanently, which a court will decide, as to show why CC would assume removal would not be permanent whatever BA said beforehand. BA have always said it, yet always given it back. So CC weren't just believing BASSA and it's '5 minutes' claim, but going by history.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:34
  #2137 (permalink)  
 
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Mrs DH

Sorry to interrupt

But Duncan's wife does not fly, she used to but not for quite some time now (this I know - I know people he knows ).

Sorry to disappoint you Atlas Drawer but Mrs DH still flies. She moved from Eurofleet to Worldwide last year. She is a purser, and is a lion compared to her 'pussycat' husband!! Louise will be giving it 100% towards the cause I can tell you.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:40
  #2138 (permalink)  
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My experience as a spouse of BA staff is that ST was returned immediately on settlement of the dispute, with full seniority. (3 times to my spouse)
The dispute isnt settled though. So whether staff travel would or wouldnt be returned on settlement is still in question. In no previous dispute has staff travel been returned before settlement.

It was in the settlement agreement of course, the BASSA membership however elected to continue the dispute.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:43
  #2139 (permalink)  
 
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Too right

My point was not so much the right or wrong of removing it permanently, which a court will decide, as to show why CC would assume removal would not be permanent whatever BA said beforehand. BA have always said it, yet always given it back. So CC weren't just believing BASSA and it's '5 minutes' claim, but going by history.
Ancient Observer, you are so right IMO. Its the history bit that many I believe were following. Even if you had only been with BA a few years, the old lags were quoting chapter and verse from previous campaigns. But the 'one trick pony way' hasn't worked this time. I said at the time of the removal to several crew that I believed WW was going to stick not twist this time. DH like Arthur Scargill before just thought, well its worked before so it'll work again
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:53
  #2140 (permalink)  
 
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Strikers & ST

so Unite claim almost 7000 strikers, and BA just under 5000.

If both have to provide their lists to court, what impact on the "missing" 2000?

Potentially they have fraudulently claimed strike pay, or incorrectly claimed they were "sick" or BA have made an error in not removing their ST.

So they could be sued by Unite for claiming strike pay when they weren't on strike, disciplined by BA for calling in sick when they were on strike, or have their ST removed by BA (particularly if BA win the case).

That would be a great own goal - court action that makes 2000 workers worse off!

(Possibly missed a scenario, but you get the drift)
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