Unite angry at alleged BA surveillance of cabin crew

The Unite trade union is considering a new
strike ballot of British Airways cabin crew over the airline’s alleged
anti-union activities. The move comes amid allegations from Unite that BA has
subjected at least two crew members to surveillance at their own homes and has
prevented shop stewards from representing staff.

Officials are expected to raise the issue
at a meeting of Unite-affiliated cabin crew at London’s Kempton Park racecourse
tomorrow, where cabin crew will wear yellow ribbons in solidarity with
colleagues who have been sacked or suspended since the dispute began. However,
Unite’s joint general secretaries, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, are holding
out for a peace deal.

A dispute over reductions in costs is mired
in wrangles over sanctions against staff who joined 22 days of strikes earlier
this year, and disciplinary proceedings against flight attendants over alleged
misdemeanours during the dispute.

The latest allegation from Unite’s main
cabin crew branch, Bassa, focuses on BA’s security department, called Asset
Protection. According to last month’s Bassa newsletter, two members facing
disciplinary action were followed to their homes. “Two more crew members
reported to the police that they had been the subject of an ongoing
surveillance at their own homes by BA’s shadowy ‘Asset Protection’
department,” the newsletter says, adding that members have seen
photographic evidence of this.

Last week, Bassa appealed for cabin crew to
volunteer as shop stewards because it has lost key members to sackings or
suspensions, including the official in charge of representing staff in
disciplinary hearings.

BA declined to comment on the surveillance
allegations. A spokesperson said: “Investigations into any allegations are
conducted under the company’s disciplinary procedures, which are agreed with
all our unions, including Unite.”

A spokesperson for Unite said: “BA is
crossing a line. It is moving on from violating people’s rights at work to
violating their human rights.”