The BA strike has been, as was expected, ruled illegal by the courts.
As the law on strike ballots stands it is practically impossible to organize a ballot that does not trip up on something or other.
The union has announced that there will be another ballot, which means that any strike action will not happen for a considerable time. They will also have missed their chance to take action when it would be most effective.
This has not stopped BA from implementing the changes that the workers oppose in the meantime
Workers seem to be angry, but also increasingly disillusioned. And who can blame them?
Though obviously a grievous blow to the union it is hard not to wonder how serious the union’s leaders ever were about actually striking.
Strike action has just become a threat that union negotiators bandy about in a dance with management.
Ballots increasingly seem to be organized to be kept in their pocket for safekeeping.
How else can Tony Woodley go on television and say that he could “guarantee” that if management come back to the negotiating table (and that’s it, not even that they withdraw the changes already made) the strike would be off?
Well that’s democratic isn’t it. Workers as a stage army to be marched up to the top of the hill and down again at the behest of the Grand Old Duke of Wallasey.
Reports in The Guardian suggest that workers are angry at the union’s legal team for their inability to organize a legal ballot.
For once it the union has to be defended on this one. It is now practically impossible to organize a ballot that doesn’t get caught out on at least one failing.
To give an idea of how byzantine the regulations have become one should listen to Bob Crow on his union’s battles with the courts (its about three minutes into the clip).
To have lost the right to organize effective legal strikes, a basic human right, is shocking in itself.
But what adds insult to injury is that this situation exists after 12 years of rule by the Labour Party, the party set up by the unions a hundred years ago to guarantee the right to strike.
The present Labour Party has done nothing to restore our trade union rights.
And Unite has just become another victim of them.
And how much does Unite pay into the Labour Party?
Since 2001 the unions that now make up Unite (TGWU, AEEU, MSF, GPMU) have paid £68 million to the Labour Party.
What have they got back?
To see donations by trade unions to the Labour Party click here