United we fail – UPDATED

Unite, are they completely batshit insane or what? I ask only because I thought trade unions were supposed to look out for their members interests and from where I’m sitting it seems like Unite is determined to cost some of their members their jobs by destroying the company that employs them. Not content with costing British Airways, which was already losing money hand over fist anyway, even more money by going on strike they’re now demanding that strikers are given cheap flights. It is, according to Unite, yet another ‘human right’.

Unite said on Monday that it planned a legal challenge over the decision by BA chief executive Willie Walsh to strip striking crew of their travel privileges – allowing them flights anywhere on the BA network for just a tenth of the usual fare.
“After careful consideration, Unite believes that management’s action breaches European human rights legislation,” said the union, claiming 6,000 crew were affected.

If that’s true, and to be honest I wouldn’t bet against it, it just proves how fucking mad the whole rights industry, which is what it’s become, has got. For Christ’s sake, they’re on fucking strike. That’s perfectly fine – stupid, perhaps, but fine – so what the fuck do they expect to happen? I’m all for the right to strike, which really is a human right. When you boil it down it’s nothing more or less than the right to withdraw your labour, and if that doesn’t qualify as a human right I don’t know why. But I’m also for the right of employers to react in the way that’s in their interests. That’s a human right too, and it ought to be anything up to and including finding someone else to do the work that the strikers won’t. The law currently protects strikers from that, which seems to give them rather more in the way of rights than their employer and its shareholders, and yet even that’s not enough for the cabin crew. They want their cheap jollies protected too.

BA hit back saying: “Staff travel is a non-contractual perk. Cabin crew knew if they took part in strike action they would lose their travel perks. We will defend our position vigorously.”

A perk, got it? It’s not a fucking right and it’s not like losing salary or bonuses that you’re contractually entitled to, it’s just a fucking perk. To put this into perspective it’s no different to all the companies that I’ve worked for that bought tea and coffee for the staff – it was never in the contracts that tea and coffee would be provided, it was just something they did as a little extra. Everyone would have moaned if they’d been told that for whatever reason they’d have to start buying their own but it wasn’t a fucking right that we’d suddenly be deprived of any more than telling even the most over compensated employees that are still taking industrial action over needed economies that they’re no longer entitled to a perk that more supportive employees can still enjoy. Tough shit, folks. If you don’t like it go work for someone else, or start your own airline and see how long you can make it survive running things your way.

Now I do realise that part of the argument is that BA want to move the goalposts and effectively renegotiate the contracts with the cabin crew, or some of them at least. I can understand that this is a bit shit of them and that the people affected are going to be upset by this. But if what I’ve read is accurate those people are the most generously remunerated in their industry and the company they work for is losing money. Do they have a right to slay the goose because it can no longer lay golden eggs and they’re not satisfied with having to adjust to silver eggs instead?

Declaration of interest: I have flown twice with BA and both times I hated the experience. The flights were both late, one went to the wrong airport leaving me a very long coach trip to where I’d parked, the staff seemed completely unable to give the remotest shit and everything seemed too much trouble, and basically everything seemed to be designed to feel as if we passengers were getting in the way. The attitude seemed to be that they’d be able to run a really good airline if they didn’t have to deal with any customers and I’m glad my employer at the time had paid because I’d have been fucking livid if it had been my own money. On top of all that they stabbed a knife into the heart of the Concorde, the only thing that could possibly have persuaded me to part with my own money to fly with them. But most of all it was the cabin crew, the very fuckers who are now on strike, that pissed me off.

Actually on reflection, screw it. Why not give them their cheap flights? Why not let them strike on full pay too? If they want to take their shithouse airline and fuck it into an early grave along with their own jobs, more fucking power to them. Good luck getting Sir Richard to hire you, you worthless bunch of fuckmonkeys.

UPDATE – Over at Julia’s Chalcedon makes an excellent point in the comments:

It can’t be a human right otherwise it would apply to us all…

Quite. If BA’s lawyers can’t make that simple argument stick in court there’s something very wrong with the law as written.

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Posted on July 27, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on United we fail – UPDATED.

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