Representatives of British Airways cabin crew have revealed their reasons for rejecting a draft agreement drawn up between the company and Unite the Union.
A ballot of the air stewards and stewardesses has been suspended because the union says it can no longer recommend acceptance of the deal.
The agreement could have settled a year long dispute over job cuts and changes to working practices – which lead to strikes in the summer
The committee of the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA) – a sub-section of the union – said they could not agree to appendix 2 of the offer from BA.
A document posted on the web on November 10 gives detailed reasons.
It says Unite would sign away the right to represent members in some disciplinary cases and concludes: “What is the point of being in a union then?”
The document says of the proposed deal: “This is not merely terms of surrender but disarmament too. The union is effectively acknowledging that it will never again be in a position to threaten strike action.”
Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said on November 11 that union officials and cabin crew reps had, at an earlier meeting, “reluctantly” agreed to recommend acceptance.
But as cabin crew reps have now decided they cannot recommend the proposed deal the union leadership will not either.
The union negotiators for the proposed BA agreement were led by Woodley and Len McCluskey – one of the candidates in the election to find a new general secretary for Unite.
Both men were quoted in a October 20 statement about the offer.
In an article in the Daily Mirror on October 27 McCluskey boasted of “dealing with tough bosses like BA’s Willie Walsh”.
The other candidates are:
Les Bayliss who said of the BA dispute in October: "It has been disastrous. It has lowered our standing and reputation. We need to make sure it never happens again".
Gail Cartmail who, on November 11, quoted a supporter who worked in civil air transport saying: “Members in my sector became very disillusioned with the handling of the BA dispute by the current general secretaries.”
Jerry Hicks, who said on November 8: “If I were the general secretary I would not recommend this latest offer and if I worked for BA I would not vote for it.”
Unite members must return their general secretary ballot papers to the scrutineers in London by November 19.