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-   -   BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V (https://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf-self-loading-freight/446356-ba-strike-your-thoughts-questions-v.html)

TightSlot 21st Mar 2011 15:41

BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V
Title says it all...

Ancient Observer 21st Mar 2011 16:01

Tightslot has been very restrained.

Might I remind posters of a couple of Forum Rules.....

"No flaming/personal attacks. (Play the ball, not the player.)"
"Stay on topic."

I would add a new rule (copyright JSL) - "Use some emotional intelligence."

Joao da Silva 21st Mar 2011 16:31

In Defence of Vintage Krug

If you can get him/her off the topic and into more general conversation about using BA mileage schemes and other such things, you will find it adds a lot of value to this forum.

A very experienced traveller.

Fender Strat 21st Mar 2011 17:07

Um... regarding the ongoing debate on BASSA's accounts, this isn't the first time that the certification officer has been called in. The last occasion was in 1996,when it ran a 12 month investigation on claims of financial irregularity. The conclusion drawn then was that there was no evidence of a significant issue of financial corruption, but that there was extremely bad administration, weak financial controls and nonimplementation of the union's rules regarding control of branch finances. The incumbent branch secretary was reported to collect over £100k pa of which half came from commission on membership dues.

Now given that was over 10 years ago, you'd think the members might have been a bit more savvy. You might also expect the union to have done more to ensure that BASSA were toeing the line. History does seem to be repeating itself.

mrpony 21st Mar 2011 17:48

Report of a letter from afar
Strange to relate so soon after Fender Strat's post above:

Via a circuitous and slightly surreal exchange of messages and emails involving amongst other things an internet cafe in Whistler, B.C., a spy ( signature MILITTLI!) has sent me what purports to be a report about a letter from the Certification Officer(CO):

The CO decided not to take any action with regards to access to accounting records without further evidence.

The CO would be prepared to consider any further information in the future.

With regards to holding of elections under branch rules the CO's powers are limited to breaches of rules, not the fairness of rules adopted by a union.

MILITTLI describes him/herself as a 'a party with an interest vested in a pension scheme and hence the rest of my life' who took information freely available in the public domain and made it available to the CO.

Make of it what you will. It comes with a big disclaimer - no dates, no names, nothing specific. Still, this is a rumor network.

If it is to be believed and is recent then the CO needs valid, evidenced complaints, preferably from members or ex-members, to be made in order to trigger the process of probing a Union's accounts. Elections seem to be a matter determined by the organisation regardless of what the law says, incredibly. If a Union's own election rules are being broken then the CO has a say.

The Certification Officer's website is easily found by search engine. Those new to this thread should refer to T&Q IV for background and extensive links.
Certification Officer - Home

LD12986 21st Mar 2011 21:28

There was an article in The Independent in 1997 about BASSA's record-keeping:

Sacked BA union man to appeal - News - The Independent

BASSA and CC89 certainly have some history!

Snas 21st Mar 2011 21:58

In my humble… paying those sort of sums to a lay rep is inevitably going to lead to tears, I struggle to see any justification for it.

Fender Strat 21st Mar 2011 22:41

What may have escaped people's notice is that the 1997 incident involved the predecessor to the current branch secretary. Now you would have thought that given the Certification Officer's comments that a new branch secretary would have gone overboard to ensure that the branch financial matters were sorted out. I have no way of knowing if any attempt was made in that respect, but it does seem somewhat ironic that we are seeing the same complaint raised again. One can only surmise that BASSA members don't care what happens to the cash that their branch extracts from them. Which I find odd given the volume of wailing about how cabin crew get such a rough deal from BA with regards to pay etc.

What is more extraordinary is that the TGWU did not see fit to try and sort this out. Bear in mind that the current General Secretary of Unite is a TGWU man. One wonders if the apparent lack of enforcement of union procedures is yet another example of double standards within Unite.

PAXboy 21st Mar 2011 22:42

Vested interests will always dig in. It's human nature to not give up what they have. It does not matter how they acquired it, or how much times have changed. So there is nothing unusual or exceptional in ANY of this. It's not nice but it IS normal. :ugh:

call100 21st Mar 2011 22:58

Originally Posted by Snas (Post 6321885)
In my humble… paying those sort of sums to a lay rep is inevitably going to lead to tears, I struggle to see any justification for it.

Although perfectly legal if the rules allow it, I agree with you in the same vein as I think that too much money is paid to Bankers, CEO's and other directors of large companies.
In the case of BASSA I would think that any FTO would find it difficult having dealings with a Branch Secretary on those sort of wages.
It will be interesting to see if anyone will step forward in any future elections who wishes to change things. Years of experience tells me they won't. Many members tend to take the easy option and resign rather than stand and fight for change from within. This is not surprising as most can't be bothered to attend any kind of meeting, regardless of how important or significant.
I don't have any axe to grind with those who leave, it's just the way things are. The problem is that BASSA will survive and eventually regroup and there won't be anyone there to make the changes needed.
This whole dispute became too personal IMO. Maybe the new CEO can change the situation. There have been talks going on behind the scenes with Unite, so, who knows?
One thing is certain, whatever the outcome of the ballot, a lot of people are going to be left feeling bitter, which is not going to help BA in the future.

Fender Strat 21st Mar 2011 23:27


The Independent report in 1997 stated that the then BASSA branch secretary was the highest paid union official in Britain. His earnings were almost double that of the then general secretary of the parent union the TGWU. Now given that this is a lay position it makes banker's bonuses seem tame by comparison. At least the latter can hold some claim to have generated wealth for their clients, albeit the clientele may be a fraction of the population.

I think you are right though. I cannot see any future branch secretary volunteering to change the situation. It will require Unite to do something pretty drastic to alter the status quo and I'm not clear whether constitutionally they can. Maybe someone closer to the intricacies of BASSA's constitution could enlighten us.

Chuchinchow 22nd Mar 2011 00:32

If you can get him/her off the topic and into more general conversation about using BA mileage schemes and other such things, you will find it adds a lot of value to this forum.
Yes, that's as maybe - but the title of this thread (emblazoned at the top of each page) is BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V

Only three messages into a new thread and already off-subject. Is that a record?

Joao da Silva 22nd Mar 2011 05:46

Only three messages into a new thread and already off-subject. Is that a record?
As far as I can see no-one has yet posted on subject.

This thread is indeed entitled BA Strike - Your Thoughts & Questions V.

The content seems to be mainly about the minutiae of union branch governance.

Litebulbs 22nd Mar 2011 07:59

My thoughts are this. The last strike cost 200K in lost passengers. How much did that cost? If each pax was a £300 spend, then £50m in revenue, before any cost of contingency, to deliver the service that BA did. That is a big number (c).

Now most unions would think that this would be a position of power, but BA in its very actions through this dispute, have shown the long term savings (s) are worth the end result and IIRC the £150m per year saving has already been made through the reduced crew numbers alone. MF is a bonus (n), which because it is not an integrated fleet to legacy, it can grow unchecked. Now if c/s<=1, then the business will see it as worthwhile. If you now have c/(s+n), then even more so.

The only way this can be changed is will be a 9000 yes vote with a massive walkout. Does anybody think that this will happen?

Litebulbs 22nd Mar 2011 08:14

Drift, but interesting
Norman Tebbit the striker and Balpa too posh to picket!

BBC iPlayer - My Strike

Hipennine 22nd Mar 2011 08:27

9000 Yes vote
LB, that summation has got to be the most succinct and accurate assessment of the reality of the situation.

Isn't the important question therefore, how to persuade the probably much smaller number of yes voters, that this is the real situation ?

Joao da Silva 22nd Mar 2011 09:23

The dispute seems to be quagmired, presently.

Even the BASSA branch secretary apparently acknowledges that a futher strike is unlikely.

It seems to me that there is a delicate balance at present, between the desire to exploit the freedom to recruit MF and the savings imposed, versus the desire to have a happy workforce.

I cannot believe that BA is content to run a business where thousands keep voting for industrial action; it simple is not healthy, but then again a return to the old ways is not, either.

So, with a change of CEO and union GS, can they finesse a way to keep the savings and MF, as well as making the disaffected employees (some of whom are not unionised, such as Betty Girl) happier and feeling fairly treated.

If not, then a long path of attrition until retirements and resignations play their part lies ahead.

If BA does wish to improve the experience (and the company recently appointed a new chief to overseet his), then one cannot help but feel that having a contented workforce (especially in customer facing roles) would be a good start.

mrpony 22nd Mar 2011 09:42

How will this dispute end?
That's my question.

It's all over bar the shouting, kicking and screaming. I can only imagine a complete end if BASSA's leadership goes and it then becomes a question of when.

Can anyone see a future for BASSA in its current guise, if so how long will it last?

LB - tks for link.

StoneyBridge Radar 22nd Mar 2011 10:42

This thread used to be valuable, if only for the entertainment value of Duncan's drunken missives and anecdotes.

Where has he gone since his failed ET ?

He no longer appears to be on here or Cabin Crew Forum.

Has he done an Adolf and retreated to his bunker (afterall, he does like his historical references)? Has Unite gagged him (highly improbable)? Is he busy negotiating a killer deal with the Samosa maker.....?

....or has he finally realised this is now the end game? Foolishly gloating that a Yes ballot will not result in IA, but that the mere threat of it will be enough to harm BA's bottom line, shows how little powder BASSA have left in their chest, how desperate they have become and how disparate they are from reality. I'm sure Unite see they are dealing with an egomaniac of loose tongue and misplaced motive.

The company have got what they wanted and much more, thanks to the ineptitude and arrogance of BASSA.

What else is there to talk about until the ballot is in and we banally climb back onto the merry-go-round of whether this time it was legal and correct?

I believe BA now couldn't care less. BASSA is no more than a mild irritant of no consequence, no power and no influence.

It's over.

notlangley 22nd Mar 2011 12:05

Thank you so much Litebulbs for that BBCi player link._ I think that it is generally very much on topic._ It is specifically on topic with the domino comments about the open-air show of hands._ Very few will be able to spare a whole hour to watch this._ But those who do will find it most rewarding and a valuable insight into what underlies and under-pins this industrial action.

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