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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions III

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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions III

Old 28th Jan 2011, 15:54
  #1861 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Cardiff, UK
Age: 59
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I don't think we should read too much into Unite taking professional legal advice on the matter. Their members jobs are on the line if a further strike is called, and they must be aware of it.

If Unite's QC advises that in his/her view, BA's responses to the points covered in the letter could be sucessfully challenged in Court, then perhaps that will be the route Unite takes rather than risking their members jobs in another (what will almost certainly be) fruitless strike.

Such a cautious approach may well upset the more rabid pro-strikers though.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 16:08
  #1862 (permalink)  
 
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Mariner9

My point is that they've had months in which to formulate a plan. Nothing has changed for 6 weeks so why wait until now.

As you say, some of the more miltant members will be getting very itchy butts!
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 16:10
  #1863 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Mariner9:

I agree. Seeking the advice of specialized counsel is a very reasonable move and should please BASSA's membership.

Hopefully, someone, somewhere, will be able to post a link to the entire contents of the two BA communications. I'm sure it makes for an insightful read into BA's thinking.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 16:33
  #1864 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: UK
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Two letters

The two letters relate to issues arising from the previous strikes: the deductions of pay, loss of ST and the treatment of the "sick". Although indicative of how BA thinks they have no direct bearing on the current dispute, except to say that those that strike should expect more of the same on these particular issues as BA feel that legally they do not any case to answer here. The letters detail exactly why they feel this way.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 16:43
  #1865 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Although indicative of how BA thinks they have no direct bearing on the current dispute,

Except perhaps to subtly illustrate to union members that several of the 'current' issues are in fact the same 'old' issues, so that when the subject of non-protected action arises, union members may have access to a polite reminder that they are treading again on an old subject. Its also a not-so-subtle way of bypassing BASSA interpretation of what was said to them, and speaking directly to members.

Its easy to think you are protected in striking, should you not have been reminded of the issues previously raised by your union, but were (probably) never shown the response.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 17:55
  #1866 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: LHR
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Unite has already instigated legal proceedings against BA over staff travel, so I would assume it has already taken advice on this and the publicised strategy has always been to pursue these issues through both litigation and industrial action.

Regardless of whether it is seeking advice about litigation issues or whether any industrial action under the latest ballot is connected to the previous dispute (BA told Unite it thought they were over six months ago) it seems very late in the day to be seeking advice not least when nothing much has changed over the past six months and Unite has two weeks in which to call a strike.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 18:05
  #1867 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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From Duncan himself:

Different Dispute but same old “Dirty tricks”

Firstly forgive the silence since our deeply satisfying ballot result was announced. As you would expect things have not been altogether quiet behind the scenes.

We can now need to update you on progress so far.

As far as British Airways being interested in reaching a solution, absolutely nothing to report. They have made no contact with Unite whatsoever, at any level. However, as you would probably also expect their energies would appear to have been expended elsewhere, in a typically negative fashion.

Once again British Airways leadership have tried to intimidate people to get their own way, this time it was not just cabin crew! It was the independent scrutineers that conducted our ballot. As always with a seemingly limitless appetite and budget for “union busting” they have used their considerable financial muscle and resources to try and bully the ERS into not publishing the result, by claiming for the third time, procedural errors within the ballot process, to this end they have failed and the result was published.

Though British airways did not write to `Unite directly, we were copied in on their letter. It appears they will go to any lengths to prevent the world knowing what their own staff really feel, anything apart from actually reaching a deal that would settle the dispute.

Why?

Because that does not give them what they are really after - settling the dispute would mean their worst case scenario, BASSA could survive if that was to happen and regroup and live to fight another day.

They would instead prefer to wipe BASSA off the face of the earth, that has always been their real aim since Day 1, and replace them with somebody a little more compliant, a little more “management friendly” that will share their aims and not put the rights of its members before the need for ever bigger profits and who better than their new “best friends” the good old PCCC to fulfill this role. It is no coincidence that only this week, they were sponsored for recognition as a “trade union” with the Government Certification Officer.

It is our responsibility to ensure that you as our members are given the best advice and so with this in mind Unite has sought written Queen’s Council advice on our next step, as soon as we have this Unite will update you. That could be as soon as later today.

There is no need for concern but we have a responsibility to be prudent.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 18:14
  #1868 (permalink)  
 
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Sorry, but is DH suggesting that BA have in some way persuaded the Government Certification Officer to grant the PCCC a licence? I would love to see their evidence of that.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 18:40
  #1869 (permalink)  
 
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Diplome

I agree. Seeking the advice of specialized counsel is a very reasonable move and should please BASSA's membership.
You've missed the point. Why wait until now, they've had weeks in which to decide on their next plan of action.

They are floundering around in the wilderness. BA will be fairly relaxed about the present situation. My forthcoming flights in J are all looking well filled, so the pax aren't worried either.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 18:57
  #1870 (permalink)  
 
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They are floundering around in the wilderness. BA will be fairly relaxed about the present situation. My forthcoming flights in J are all looking well filled, so the pax aren't worried either.
indeed ... I'm more worried about the 10yo kid who lives down the lane, and more inconvenienced by the local cat that 'sings' outside our bedroom window in the small hours of the morning.

DH/BASSA are welcome to bluster all they wish. They can spend members' Union subscriptions on the highest lawyers in the land. They can parade around Bedfont, and catterwaul along the Bath Road, for ever. The rest of the SLF are just flying, and booking, BA ... and, please Duncan, don't tell us how many people have switched to other airlines. They have not: they may have other reasons for not flying [have you heard of the global recession?] but it's not YOU.

The problem is that DH/they have no grasp of reality. And trying to re-start a strike on basically the same grounds as the last one is simply puerile. However, with luck the expensive Queen's Counsel/Council will tell DH it's a non-starter ... after about 3 hours of meetings, several days of deliberation and a few ££,£££ in fees.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 19:06
  #1871 (permalink)  
 
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I'm more worried about the 10yo kid who lives down the lane
MPN11: That is no way to talk about the Connétable.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 19:14
  #1872 (permalink)  
 
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He's OK, actually, and he has smartened himself up considerably over the last few years. He actually polishes his shoes nowadays.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 19:56
  #1873 (permalink)  
 
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fincastle:

One would hope that Unite/BASSA have been using competent counsel throughout this dispute. I just don't see their speaking of its use now as a big issue.

They have to tell their membership something regarding their delay in communicating any action...."awaiting word from counsel" is as good as anything else. As mishandled as I believe this dispute has been from the Union side Unite is not a small operation and they take significant funds from the Cabin Crew members just so that they are ready for times such as this. I can't imagine they would have not used the advice of counsel constantly.

As for a battle plan...Unite/BASSA/Amicus/CC89 can't agree amongst themselves. How you can build a cohesive plan of action out of that list of characters is anyone's guess.

That's why I'm still wondering how Unite gets a win out of this...or even a draw. For the Union it has been an extremely damaging engagement.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 20:35
  #1874 (permalink)  
 
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Diplome

That's why I'm still wondering how Unite gets a win out of this...or even a draw. For the Union it has been an extremely damaging engagement.
In the military, my professional background, there are 10 principles of war which were laid down in 1812 by a German military theorist, Von Clausewitz .

The 1st principle is "Selection & maintenance of the aim".
The 2nd principle is "Maintenance of morale".

May I postulate that Bassa/ Unite have totally failed in both?

Last edited by fincastle84; 28th Jan 2011 at 20:55.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 21:22
  #1875 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: USA
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Letter from PCC to CC

Copied from a post of Flyer Talk (I hope it is not a dupe posting here)

From the PCCC:

Dear Cabin Crew Colleague,

The Professional Cabin Crew Council are very pleased to announce that we have now been listed on the Schedule of Trade Unions! This means that the Certification Officer (www.certoffice.org.uk) has now declared that we are a trade union! This is great news, and means that we have made considerable inroads towards becoming a recognised union for BA cabin crew. Most importantly it demonstrates that we are exactly who we say we are: Cabin Crew! The Certification Officer is satisfied that we are independent from BA otherwise they would not list the PCCC.

We would like to thank all of you for having the strength to join us - without you trusting us and joining up, it would not have happened.

We can move forward now and attend meetings with you and BA (attendance, disciplinary, etc) if you want us to. We can put you in touch with free legal advice re accidents at work and we are working on building up other benefits of belonging to our organisation.

One thing we have learnt along this winding road, is that, so far, we haven't needed to take any money from you. We have had some wonderful support from customers, ex-cabin crew, pilots, and people all across the globe. We have not taken a penny from anyone, but we have been grateful for the wonderful website and forum which was donated, and also our database which has no doubt saved us a lot of money! It certainly has made us wonder what happened to all the millions we have paid to Unite over the years!

So while BASSA thrash out yet another strike ballot, and wonder what to do, we are moving forward.

We believe that there is a better, more professional way to do things. We believe that working together we can create a stronger community and give us all a voice. We also believe that for too long, we have paid too much, to people that don't actually care about us and what we want. The undemocratic system that BASSA operates has never been so acutely demonstrated as the Branch Secretary publicly asking no voters to leave BASSA! So now we all know the truth - it's their way or no way.

If you haven't already done so, log-on to our forum (www.mypccc.co.uk) and see how refreshing it is to have professional debates with reasoned, intelligent people. All views are welcome, as long as they're not offensive!

So while they prepare the burners to stand around at Bedfont, we have something far more classy to offer: A professional organisation made up entirely of cabin crew, not affiliated to any larger Union or political party. We are entirely independent and we intend to remain that way.

The only people who know what's best for us is....us - each and everyone of us. So, come on in out of the cold!

Please email (or maildrop) this to a fellow cabin crew colleague who may be interested in joining the PCCC!

IT’S TIME FOR SOMETHING BETTER. IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 22:18
  #1876 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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It has been pointed out that Unite seeking council may be appropriate; however this would seem the eleventh hour and what has changed? It has been my understanding from reading these threads that if a strike went ahead it may be a “legal” strike but still be “unprotected” if it were deemed to be a continuation of the previous strike. In this situation the strikers might not be protected from dismissal but Unite would not have liability to BA. On the other hand, if the strike were deemed illegal Unite could incur a financial liability to BA as well as the strikers being unprotected. In his latest missive to the faithful Duncan said ”they have used their considerable financial muscle and resources to try and bully the ERS into not publishing the result, by claiming for the third time, procedural errors within the ballot process, to this end they have failed and the result was published.” Could it be that after the ballot was closed BA raised certain objections such as nonunion members being balloted and requested that ERS not publish the results as they could be invalid. ERS is, of course, not in a position to decide this matter and published the results. Now there is a new issue for Unite to confront, one that could create a financial liability. This could explain the apparent delay in announcing plans and the need to again consult legal council. Certainly this must give any member who is paying attention (I know there are probably few) a less than secure feeling.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 22:29
  #1877 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: US
Posts: 78
BASSA's possible spin on why BA contacted ERS in advance of the results being published is interesting.

Some posters on these threads said during the balloting process that there were crew who had left BASSA but still received ballots. And that they had forwarded them to BA to let them know.

If this is the case, and BA received a number of documented reports of former union members receiving ballots, then it sounds as though BA contacted the polling group to try to address this legally before they published results. Maybe they wrote to them to say "some ex-members may have voted and been included in your totals..."

Sounds more like BA's duty of care to the process, due to the fact that they had crew reporting ballots sent to non-members, than trying to surpress the results. But then that doesn't play as well to the peanut gallery, as the latter reason....

Sadly, guess we all will find out when it goes to court--again.
baggersup is offline  
Old 29th Jan 2011, 15:09
  #1878 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Scotland
Posts: 144
I've just been reading this

Trade union rules and membership register : Directgov - Employment

Two sections which are really pertinent are

Membership register
Trade unions must keep an accurate and up-to-date register of their members’ names and addresses. You are entitled, on request, to:
find out from the register, for free, whether there is an entry about you
be supplied, for free or for a reasonable charge, with a copy of any entry on the register about you
Disqualification from holding office
It is a criminal offence for a trade union to fail to supply copies of the trade union rules when asked.
If a trade union fails to do this, they must make sure the person responsible cannot hold any important elected positions in the trade union for five years (eg member of the executive).

Given that BASSA seem not to know who its members are then they surely must be breaking the rules.

The section on Union elections states that elections must be held every five years at least. There are no grounds given for delaying elections longer than 5 years.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 03:21
  #1879 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: US
Posts: 78
So as BASSA consult with counsel, the middle east has turned into a tinder box and the price of oil has begun to rise again, as oil field uncertainty rears its head.

If oil should skyrocket to $100 a barrel or beyond in the next few weeks, will BASSA take this into consideration as they decide to strike?

Imagine the additional burden of cost BA will incur if oil begins to increase the way it did a couple of years ago. I don't know what BA's fuel hedging situation is, so don't know how much this will impact them right away.

Talk about looking at context for your IA! Oh dear.

On the other hand, a strike might actually help BA if fuel suddenly doubles. Flights will be consolidated, fewer planes in the air, each plane with a higher load, and they hire out other airlines' planes at a flat rate.

They might actually hand BA a savings through striking again if the oil rise is a factor. But who knows.

Either way, I bet BASSA doesn't have this on their radar screen. Business climate consideration is not their forte.
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