Jerry Hicks – BA dispute 29.05.2010

From BAd to worse – then a bit better! by Jerry Hicks

In the week starting 17th May, all eyes were on the High Court in London. As if to rival Eastenders, the British Airways/Unite “High Court, the Soap Opera” had moved to a new twice-weekly slot.

Monday’s cliff hanger saw British Airways win another injunction on yet another technicality. Within the thousands of votes cast, the overwhelming majority of which were in favour of strike action, there were eleven spoilt papers and this was not conveyed to all those who took part in the ballot. Unite called the strike off and appealed. Thursday’s episode saw the injunction overturned. It appears the original decision was too much for the ruling class to justify.

It might be funny if it wasn’t so serious. That employers like BA use anti-union laws to stop strikes is no surprise. The National Union of Journalists and the RMT have both recently lost court cases on technicalities. The scandal is that employers are still able to use the courts to block strikes.

Where are we now with BA? Willie Walsh has sacked five Unite members, suspended at least 50 others and now we hear that some who cheered at the High Court when the injunction was overturned are suspended as well. This is a blatant attack on the union and its members.

*Jerry Hicks is a candidate for General Secretary of Unite. For more information about Jerry’s campaign, including the election timetable, visit

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