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From: The Socialist issue 617, 24 March 2010: Strikers can beat BA bosses

Search site for keywords: British Airways - Socialist - The Socialist - US - Pay - Recession - David Cameron

British Airways cabin crew pickets speak to The Socialist

It's been really heartening to get together like this with all your colleagues. The support has been great, horns are going all the time. The fire brigade beeped us. I believe the public support is there. We went to the Unite meeting at Sandown and that was a fantastic experience - everyone together, about 1,500 of us. This is my first time on strike. I really didn't want to but I believe in what we're fighting for."

I don't understand why people say we're not having support. We even had one lady who threw chocolates out of her car for us!"

This is nothing to do with the recession. It started four years ago and BA are now using recession as an excuse. Willie Walsh has made so many errors.

BA is taking the scabs and giving them the minimum health and aviation safety training. They got half of what we get and they are without the experience we've built up. I would not be confident to work in those conditions."

According to the papers I am owed thousands and thousands in back-dated pay. I don't earn anything like what they've been reporting."

Gordon Brown has said he wants the votes of women with young families. Well lots of them work for BA. And as for David Cameron, he asked for support for those crossing the picket line. I've never been involved in anything like this before but now I won't read the newspapers that told lies about us and I can't vote for any of the parties."

The papers are talking a lot about the 'perks' of the job. BA went all round Europe recruiting people with language skills. Cheap and free travel is an important part of the package for them. It is vital for them to be able to visit family and friends. Now they're taking this away."

"I make no apology for the fact that we are better paid than Ryanair and Easyjet. That's because we have a strong unionised workforce and yes, we have for many years been able to win decent terms and conditions for our workers.

But saying all that this has never been about pay, even though we have taken a pay cut. It is about a race to the bottom."

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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