Adonis warns Unite over strike threat to BA's future
Monday 15 March 2010
Lord Adonis yesterday became the first senior Labour minister to publicly criticise the Unite trade union, saying the move was "totally unjustified", not just because of the damage to passengers but "the threat it poses to the future of one of our great companies".
BA's cabin crew are to walk out for seven days this month after the trade union Unite failed to come to an agreement with the company over cost-cutting measures and pay. Should the strikes go ahead, they would "threaten the very existence of British Airways", Lord Adonis said. Unite hit back, saying the minister "appears badly informed".
This is the first time a Labour minister has taken such a hard line over the strike. Last night it was reported that Gordon Brown had also intervened in the dispute, calling Tony Woodley, Unite's joint general secretary, to discuss potential solutions.
Some, including the Conservative Party, have drawn attention to the fact that Unite is Labour's largest single donor, last year handing the party £3.6m. Michael Gove, the shadow Education Secretary, will this week accuse Labour of becoming "a wholly owned subsidiary of the trade union movement".
Cabin crew staff are set to strike for three days on Saturday and then another four days the following week, marking the first industrial action at the company in 13 years. If the two sides fail to agree, there will be further industrial action in April. BA's chief executive, Willie Walsh, accused staff of "trying to break the company" last week.
Despite his criticism of the strike action, Lord Adonis revealed yesterday that the two sides could still strike a deal: "They came very, very close to an agreement last week, so close that I believe that if they could continue these negotiations in a constructive way it would be possible to call this strike off," he said. "[The union] should call off the strike. They should get back into negotiations with British Airways again. In this short window I implore the union to get together with the management and to see whether, at this late stage, a solution can be found."
This came after Jack Dromey, the deputy general secretary of Unite, called on BA to reopen negotiations yesterday. He said Mr Walsh should "cool the rhetoric and get back around the table" to head off the strike.
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...