Saturday, May 22, 2010

BA-union negotiations disrupted by direct action

The BBC and the Telegraph report that the union negotiations between the UNITE union and BA management have been disrupted by protesters coming from the Right to Work conference. The BBC have particularly exciting footage which shows quite a few people I recognise from the SWP and at least three of them are employees of that organisation.

Now, I might be taking a wild stab in the dark here but there didn't seem to be a single BA worker among the protesters who'd decided to break up the union's negotiations. If anyone is going to make the decision to occupy their union's negotiations with management it should be the BA workers themselves, and not just one of them but collectively making that decision.

I have absolutely no idea what this is meant to achieve apart from making the strike more complicated for those workers who are already on the receiving end of abuse from media and management alike.

Derek Simpson, one of the union's negotiators tweeted that "Unite totally and absolutely condems [sic] the demonstrators who disrupted the talks at ACAS no member of cabin crew were involved". Now, whatever you think of him that seems to be a perfectly justified position to me.

Unsurprisingly Socialist Worker have a report up already where they unintentionally make clear that no BA worker asked them to disrupt their negotiations and that their key (or should that be only) purpose was in "
demanding that activists build solidarity for the BA workers and hold collections to support the strikes."

So that's all about activists demanding things of other activists then without any involvement from the workers who are actually on strike and whose livelihoods are concerned. I don't think this is very cool, in fact I'd say it was the wrong way to help cabin crew win their dispute.


Adam Ramsay said...

well said, Jim, well said - solidarity with the workers means just that - support for what they chose to do, not disrupting it.

Luna17 said...

Absolutely agree. It's worth stressing that these disgraceful antics were not proposed at - or endorsed by - the Right to Work conference which preceded it. It was a SWP stunt which didn't involve anyone involved directly in the BA dispute. I'm still astonished that my old party has done something quite this crazy.