Seconds away – round three
The bout between brand British Airways and the Unite union over the proposed 12-day Christmas strike enters its third round.
What started off as a strong opening for the Unite union ,has taken a turn in favour of heavyweight brand BA.
The brand’s PR spin-doctors have skilfully turned around public perceptions and opinion.
The press have been full of stories pointing to the chutzpah of Unite asking wages to be protected and cut backs to be stopped – whilst many passengers have had to make financial sacrifices in their own businesses.
Press headlines on the morning of the expected court decision were full of vim and vitriol.
For example, the Daily Telegraph wrote:
“One of the British Airways union leaders behind the planned 12-day strike lives for part of the year in a £400,000 property with a swimming pool in California, it has been claimed.”
This followed a story published the day before which said:
“Teresa Biddles, 54, a woman with incurable cancer, has had her dream Christmas holiday in New York ruined by the proposed strike.
The threat of industrial action means she and her husband Steve, 50, have had to cancel their plans because she cannot risk missing a specialist appointment booked for January 7.”
Comments left on the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardessess Association (Bassa) internet forum suggest questions over the legality of the proposed strike. One commentator wrote:
“Twelve days over the Christmas period was a step too far. I certainly wasn’t aware that in voting to strike it would be 12 days and have to say I was shocked. I will of course fulfil my decision to strike but I feel physically sick at the thought.”
Enter the new Amir Khan – brand Virgin Atlantic
Recognising a Christmas bonus when it sees one, arch rival brand to BA, Virgin Atlantic has now leapt into the ring promising to put bigger aircraft on key routes.
Virgin Atlantic has offered an additional 1,600 extra seats to destinations including New York, Boston, Washington DC and Delhi over the peak travel period.
Meanwhile one airline brand, Flyglobespan has thrown in the towel.
Around 5,000 passengers had booked to travel in the coming days with the airline, which operated from Gatwick, Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Bruce Carr, QC for BA said yesterday that 1000 votes from former staff had been “wrongly” included in the strike ballot of 12,500 cabin crew.
If the court rules the action illegal, then the walkout, which experts say would cost the ailing airline £30million a day, would have to be called off.
With public opinion swaying towards brand BA – all eyes are on the judges at the High Courts to call the final count on what could go for the full 12 rounds of a very public slugging match.