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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V

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BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V

Old 2nd Apr 2011, 07:18
  #241 (permalink)  
 
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Paxboy

My response was in reply to the posting of Ryanair's 'roses' to Unite and in the context of Hipennines comment about the consequences of threatening strike action.

So whilst voting yes and then working might shield individuals from specific BA sanctions, the uncertainty caused and potential loss of business elsewhere is still a risk that the members should consider.

Having been lurking around here for a while, it seems one theme of this thread is about the responsibility of the union/branch, which is a fair point.

However, with the power to act (vote) comes personal responsibility and the several thousand who have repeatedly voted for industrial action cannot be excused this.

As my old school teacher used to admonish the kids blaming others 'If <insert name> told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?'
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 08:42
  #242 (permalink)  
 
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On the other thread Miss M wrote :

BA management are not treating us with respect
Well damn, aint nutttin wos then a multiiii nashunal organisation dissin you , is there Miss M ?

Time to git together wiv de bruvvers and sisters from de hood and give dem a good kickin , yah !!

Oh, you already tried that , didn't you ?
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 09:22
  #243 (permalink)  
 
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BA management are not treating us with respect
Like others, I do admire MissM's tenacity, however misguided it is.

There is a culture of entitlement, which I think has always existed, but is now more prevalent than ever here in Britain, which simply does not accept that with rights come responsibilities and that there is a difference between employees and management. Respect must be earned.

From my own perspective, I consider the dispute over, and lost by BASSA.

BA has won back the right to manage its own operations; if BA Management can be criticised it is for abdicating this responsibility over the course of decades post privatisation.

As DH's recent loss at the Employment Tribunal has proven, BA has followed procedure to the letter, and has demonstrated considerable restraint in the face of taunting, bullying and personalisation of a dispute which was always about power and control, and never about minor variations in working practices. This is most succinctly summed up by this image, which has graced the . FRONT PAGE HOME PAGE website for over a year:

You can see the recent statement by Red Len that even he is cackhandedly attempting to engineer a solution which allows Unite to escape with some dignity.

This has moved far beyond BA's cabin crew to a political p*ssing contest.

It is clear BASSA's current leadership will NEVER settle, no matter what; they have no personal, professional or moral motive whatsoever to do so.

BASSA no longer has the capacity to impact the operation by withdrawing labour, similarly its strike threats have zero effect on the higher margin corporate customers who sustain profits, and minimal effect on the lower yield leisure travellers decision to choose BA; forward bookings remain encouraging despite the wider economic climate.

It's hard to see a way forward; I can understand scepticism about PCCC Professional Cabin Crew Council but similarly I can see no evidence that it is a management plot and it does seem that it would be a good thing if it gained the required 40% (?) to negotiate a new deal for those cabin crew who are already suffering a pay scale behind that which would be the case were they not a member if Unite.

BASSA's leadership is personally discredited, quite possibly suffering some from psychological issues, in some cases no longer employed by BA and needs a clear out.

The real question now is who from within BASSA's ranks has the ability and knowledge about BASSA to challenge the status quo, and whether they will have to wait until DH and LM's stated intention to resign and hold elections in October.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 09:27
  #244 (permalink)  
 
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So whilst voting yes and then working might shield individuals from specific BA sanctions, the uncertainty caused and potential loss of business elsewhere is still a risk that the members should consider.
There is only "uncertainty" if strike dates are announced. Now, since BA have the bases pretty much covered with VCC, mixed fleet, those who have resigned from Bassa, etc, and the fact that previous strike action has not only failed to "cripple" the airline but has not resulted in a massive drop off in bookings then, imo, the only people who should be "uncertain" regarding the future are those who believe that a strike will somehow advance their cause.

As we have seen, striking and the threat of strikes has no effect on BA's resolve. The dispute is effectively over, Bassa have failed to impose their will, have failed to get the public on their side and have failed their own members. They are finished.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 09:39
  #245 (permalink)  
 
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Indeed ... another staggeringly arrogant input from the wonderful MissM.

I cannot think of a single instance where BASSA has not treated BA Management with respect ... apart from red-eyes, underpants and a few dozen other things.

Oh well, just get on with it, BASSA. No doubt you'll be describing empty aircraft circling LHR again.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 09:56
  #246 (permalink)  
 
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However, with the power to act (vote) comes personal responsibility and the several thousand who have repeatedly voted for industrial action cannot be excused this.
I see where you're coming from. This situation is largely a problem of BA's making in that historically it has encouraged a culture where unions can use the threat of strikes and/or a strong mandate for strike action to force the company to back down. I wonder how many of the 9,514 crew that originally voted for strike action thought that the company would just give in?

Add to this a culture of dependency rather than personal ownership and accountability (let's not forget that there used to be 2 SCCM for every 1 main crew on a 747) and, to give BASSA some credit, they have done a remarkable job in positioning themselves as the sole source of the truth and create a "we're all under siege" mentaility by managing to twist every step the company takes as an orchestrated plot to crush BASSA.

Although BASSA have obtained a mandate for strike action that many other unions would envy, in the context of BASSA's historically high union membership and support, for them to have lost nearly 3,000 members and 4,000 votes is significant for BASSA. And as Mixed Fleet grows and EF/WW retire/leave BASSA is only going to get weaker.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 10:10
  #247 (permalink)  
 
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There is only "uncertainty" if strike dates are announced.
I don't wish to get into an argument of pedantics, but clearly any customer service organization with an ongoing industrial dispute places uncertainty into the minds of some customers. How large the problem is another matter, but the original premise that I was replying to assumed that customers may be driven to Ryanair.

LD12986

I agree with your analysis, with the only rider being that after 18 months, you might think that the members would have realised that their threatened strike action is not going to cause the company to give in.

I guess that my point is one can only blame BASSA/Unite to a certain degree, if the members voted 'no', then the dispute would end.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 10:55
  #248 (permalink)  
 
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And there's another thing

....with apologies to the likes of BettyGirl.

I grew to detest the attitude of some BA CC during 20+ years of business travel and would actively seek out alternatives to avoid the risk of flying with an 'uppity' lot who gave out bad vibes(man). I commuted to Edinburgh weekly for a few years and would drive an extra 20 miles to go from Stansted with British Midland in a Fokker Friendship, which added further to the journey time, rather than go with BA from Heathrow. I knew many who felt this way and I appreciate more fully why so having observed all this.

The fact of the matter is that there are a fair few BA CC who have an overblown sense of entitlement and importance - traits that are particularly distasteful - combined with disdain for their employer, other BA employees and SLF. This comes across and is bad for business. How do you sort that out?
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 11:08
  #249 (permalink)  
 
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mrpony

Mission statements, corporate values etc?

BBC iPlayer - The British at Work: The Age of Uncertainty: 1995 - Now

From about 10 minutes on.

When you feed in BS, BS is what you get back. If you tell people they are the best, then that is what they believe.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 11:19
  #250 (permalink)  
 
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Questions

mrpony,

I would be interested to know the real percentages of
1. Dedicated, customer service oriented staff versus
2. Deluded, entitlement oriented self important staff.

Clearly, the BA CC posters on here want to get on with delivering great service.

Where are the others? On the bassa website?

Also, another number that would be interesting.....

Of the "Let's strike" voters, we know that only about 40% would actually strike if asked to.
How many of them are the part-time hobby jobbers? How many of them are full-time "I need the money to pay my bills" people?

I might respect the second group taking Industrial action, but not the hobby-jobbers, who just use the job to fund drop head BMWs and this year's Wimbledon tickets.

Anyone have any decent estimates?
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 11:47
  #251 (permalink)  
 
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Litebulbs

Tks for that. V. interesting and memory-jogging. An armitage shanks defecation interface indeed!


And this for poster Hula on the CC thread.

Last edited by mrpony; 2nd Apr 2011 at 12:53.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 12:08
  #252 (permalink)  
 
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I enjoyed an evening with two friends last night who both work for BA one is a CC the other an engineer. One fired off mail to Len McCluskey to question the outrageous rep/s who used, once again, a period in modern history in an attempt to assert BASSA's determination - this case it was 'KristalNact' - a worse case would have been most difficult to imagine. He asked L McC, without going into specifics, what he thought of Unite being bought into disrepute. I saw the mail he sent and it was well written and something for LMcC to respond to - or he should have done but didn't. As he heard nothing he asked again - nothing. Then we see that LMcC has spat forth some drivel about the strikes and the reps will be at "negotiations for the first time in a year."

How? Holley and his gang of nasty sidekicks will NOT BE ALLOWED TO NEGOTIATE? BA are bound to exclude them - they are sacked! But lets assume UNITE know that. It will be most interesting if the meeting happens without the Chairman (well maybe her) but not Holley who has caused this ridiculous situation.

What I see, and I am sure I am not alone, is that BASSA and Unite truly believe that they have a platform to stand on when the one I see has woodrot and has crumpled to a point where it will support only a few people. Then it will be seen that many of those would not dare to venture onto it and fall into the mire that BASSA made for itself and - them.

The bluster that Len McCluskey uses is of course typical of his idols of the 70's but has no place in British unionism today. Will he learn? I doubt it.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 14:05
  #253 (permalink)  
 
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The Wind of Change - Evolution or Deja Vu.

When first I started work, an electronic engineering apprenticeship with a prominent equipment manufacturer in the mid-sixties , there was still very much 'a job for life culture' - nothing would change. The company was run by tradition. We're British, we're the best, the customer will come to us we told ourselves. The market served was global, both commercial and government agencies (cost + whatever it cost contracts). Competition was limited. Life was good.

I'm old enough to remember the industrial unrest of the 60s & 70s when strong unions told weak managements how it would be. Unfortunately for these two squabbling parties , their members and the employees, the 'eye was off the ball'. The product was poor, in some cases exceptionally poor. In concept, design and execution - be it service or hardware. Competition from the Far East was growing at an outstanding pace with a completely different culture and attitude. British companies merged or were taken-over in an attempt to protect and strengthen their markets. Today, none of these businesses exist. Vast numbers of people went through the trauma of redundancy.

I did most of my business travelling in the 70s & 80s and one could see the same thing happening with the airlines. Singapore Airlines was THE carrier whenever possible. Thai and Malaysian airlines could be pretty good too. At the time there was only one prominent British carrier (although others were growing), BOAC/BEA, who then merged and re-named British Airways. Unfortunately they had the 'we're the best take it or leave it' attitude. As regards other 'Western' airlines there are some that were household names and aviation pioneers at that. All gone. I suspect younger staff in the airline industry may never even have heard of them.

Sad? Yes, but all part of evolution. Nothing is forever. For an organisation to survive it must be acutely aware of its environment and capable of responding to the climate in which it finds itself. By 'Organisation' this includes management, employees and unions. All working for the common good of the 'organisation' with an eye on the ball that matters. Failure to achieve this at any level will inevitably lead to failure of the organisation. Whether the culture, attitude, operating and or social principles of the competition are right or wrong is immaterial, that's the competition.

Can British Airways survive this Cabin Crew dispute? Undoubtedly it can. Will it continue as the British Airways it was before? No. It is already in the its second corporate merger process with more possibly to come. Whether this is Deja Vu or evolution in favour of the company, as always, time will tell. Getting to grips with operating costs in order to compete in this type of market is a long term quest, the results of which will only be known years hence.

To me, one thing is clear. It will not be successful in these enterprises without mature, positive and forward thinking contributions from ALL the workforce.
My despair is that once again we see a section of trade-unionism self-destructing regardless of the damage caused, in particular to its own members. But I suppose that's evolution for you. Or is it Deja Vu?


Tapas anyone?
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 14:34
  #254 (permalink)  
 
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Completely Dysfunctional Dynamics Going into 'Negotiations'

The dynamics that exist going into these so-called 'negotiations' couldn't be any more dysfunctional if someone had deliberately made them up. If the current level of dysfunction will even allow the parties to bring themselves to engage - which will, no doubt, be revealed shortly.

We have a so-called 'dispute' over an entire laundry list of specious, ill-defined and fuzzy issues that cannot be definitively described or much less negotiated because the real issue is that of a power-struggle over who controls IFCE's operations that neither BA, Unite, BASSA or CC89 can publically admit is the one true reason.

We have Unite, who has responsibility for negotiations with BA and who has ultimate say on whether IA is called or not but not whether the 'dispute' is resolved and whose General Secertary is using '70s tactics as the only tricks he knows while desperately hoping he appears to be in control in his new job for which only 15% of his members actually elected him.

We have BASSA, who has ultimate say whether the 'dispute' is settled or not but not whether IA is called but whose General Secretary and several key Reps are either on suspension or have been dismissed from their employment (allegedly for engaging in gross misconduct related to the 'dispute' and so far upheld by any ETs) and thus under BASSA's own rules are no longer eligible to be BASSA members let alone executives with negotiatory responsiblilities.

We have CC89, whose position and responsibilities should be identical to those of BASSA but holds an irrational hatred of BASSA and can't bring itself to work with them in any way.

Then we have BA who cannot admit that their only reason to 'settle' would be if either BASSA's current leadership or BASSA itself, as the representative union for the CC, is deposed and replaced as any settlement would simply preserve BASSA's disruptive power into the future. Having gained all the power, and at great cost, BA will not budge until either of the above happens as it simply cannot allow itself to capitulate or relinquish anything now having come so far in such a painful manner and would also be grossly unfair for everyone else involved with the company who has had to endure the unpleasantness.

In the middle of all this are a minority of the CC themselves who, in spite of having had no reduction in their Ts & Cs, continue to vote for IA (even though less that half of this minority would ever take action) because they have this 'bad feeling' that they have been hard done-by (and might be even harder done-by in the future) despite being made an excellent offer, including guaranteed pay rises few others have been offered, and told their future livelihoods will be protected - which is more than just about any other person currently in gainful employment on the entire planet has right now!

Finally we have the truth that BA holds all the cards, and knows it, while Unite, BASSA & CC89 are all on their backs blustering away in complete denial and misguidedly believing they hold any power whatsoever.

Feel free to contribute if I missed anything!

AVF

Last edited by AV Flyer; 3rd Apr 2011 at 14:08.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 16:08
  #255 (permalink)  
 
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Shut the operation down on a Friday start re-hiring Monday.

Simples.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 16:24
  #256 (permalink)  
 
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AV Flyer - That pretty much sums it up. Whatever BA gives it will never be enough for BASSA and CC89. They have lost power. They will continue to lose power. They will never give in.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 16:42
  #257 (permalink)  
 
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AV Flyer

Eloquently expressed, and you have saved me trying to compose something in similar vein. I'll play it in a different form, drawing on your excellent analysis ...
  • The Cause ... is weak, ill-defined and petulant.
  • Unite ... remains in the grip of 1970's Trades Unionism.
  • BASSA ... I find it hard to find words suitable for Public expression, but I'll go for Leadership self-interest as a catch-all: along with disgusting behaviour and childish rhetoric.
  • CC89 ... could possibly have helped. Why didn't they?
  • BA ... has finally almost recovered control of the Company after decades of concessions. There can be no turning back if the Airline is to survive in this decade.

Then there are the CC. I will not insult any of them by trying to generalise, as they are many different people with different motives and/or aspirations.
  • Full-time or Part-time
  • Primary earner, or needing to supplement family income, or "Hobby job".
  • All the different 'Fleets' and bases.
  • Different aircraft types.
  • Favourite [or otherwise] routes.
  • Different pay-scales and T&Cs.

It's a mess, jointly created by BA and the Unions since privatisation. And it has to be sorted out. The fact that BA has said existing T&Cs will be maintained apparently holds no sway with some existing staff ... they either refuse to read what BA says, or disbelieve anything BA says.

So, the 5,800 "Yes" voters have spoken, or at least made noises about 'sending a message to BA'. I'm sure the courage of their convictions, and unswerving support for BASSA, will be reflected by the way a substantial percentage will report to work as normal if a strike is approved. And that is where I find it difficult to accept their posturing and general behaviour. You want to strike? Go ahead and do it, but don't keep making meaningless gestures by ticking the "Yes" box if you don't have the intelligence to work out what you're actually saying, and lack the courage to follow up with the action.

In this area I actually agree with Mr Holley ...
  • If you voted "No", then walk away from the Union that is mis-representing you, and has lost legitimacy through it's fiddling with rules to keep Holley in place and he's being funded with your money.
  • If you voted "Yes" to strike, then bloody well do it and have the courage of your supposed convictions.

You will, of course discover that BA will operate without you, and the SLF actually won't miss you.

... and [breathe] [/rant]
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 17:20
  #258 (permalink)  
 
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Power

Are we talking about trade union collective power (Unite) or the power of the individual to have an input to working conditions?

If it is Unite power, then they came to an agreement with BA on a deal. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if an open vote (no recommendation) would have happened, but we will never know.

How much did individual power affect the passenger prior to this dispute and how often? If the dispute was settled tomorrow, I get the feeling that many that contribute to this thread would still not be happy. These 6000 potential strikers would still be in employment, so there is a big chance that they will be there for some time to come. Surely you want them to be happy at work, because that is what you will experience as passengers, not their terms and conditions.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 17:41
  #259 (permalink)  
 
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AV Flyer

First let me say that was a great post. I think it reflects the thoughts of many pax that visit this site. Unfortunately the fact remains that the rabid dog will continue to bark and try to bite as long as 9000 CC continue to feed it. These 9000 will continue to receive the representation that they are paying for and that they deserve. We pax will, as another poster put it, continue to experience a percentage of grumpy crew and inconsistent service.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 17:48
  #260 (permalink)  
 
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Hi, Litebulbs

Are we talking about trade union collective power (Unite) or the power of the individual to have an input to working conditions?
No problem with sensible inputs, I'm sure. But surely existing CC have their T&C protected anyway.

If it is Unite power, then they came to an agreement with BA on a deal. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if an open vote (no recommendation) would have happened, but we will never know.
Indeed. Union power seemed to have pulled the plug on that agreement. Strange.

How much did individual power affect the passenger prior to this dispute and how often? If the dispute was settled tomorrow, I get the feeling that many that contribute to this thread would still not be happy. These 6000 potential strikers would still be in employment, so there is a big chance that they will be there for some time to come. Surely you want them to be happy at work, because that is what you will experience as passengers, not their terms and conditions.
Ahhh ... there's the nub of the problem.

Individual CC power may, or may not, have affected the quality of service [or indeed competence or courtesy] in recent years. We will all have a view on that, I'm sure.
Do I want them to be 'happy at work'? Actually, I don't give a sh1t. I pay for my ticket, I expect to get what it says on the box. I'm not in the business of paying money to make BA staff happy.

Let me tell you a tale.
In my mid to late 40s, I was also unhappy at work. I had enjoyed a very successful career, but I felt undervalued. I was largely ignored as a human being ... I was just "office equipment" as far as my superiors seemed to view me.
So what did I do? Did I kick and bitch at the structure that paid me a good salary? Did I deliberately undermine the workplace, or fail to do what I was paid to do?
No ... I left, to do something else that gave me job satisfaction, and at the same time put me in a position where I was recognised as someone who 'added value'.

I gave up a 30-year career. Perhaps those who complain so much about working for BA could consider a similar move? Then the SLF wouldn't have to be cared for by people who clearly don't give a sh1t about the paying punters? It's not a Charity donation, it's a salary for doing the job ... and the existing CC have their existing salaries protected.

BASSA does not run BA any more. Simples.


Sorry if that's a bit hard-ball, LB, but I needed to say that.
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