Sunday, 14 March 2010

How far they have fallen

Lord Adonis is absolutely right to call for both sides in the BA dispute to resume talks. Discussion is ultimately the only way of seeking to resolve any industrial dispute, and the inevitable disruption which will result from a strike is something no-one really wants. I can't believe that anyone - least of all the staff who will lose pay - really wants to see the strikes go ahead.

Adonis is also entitled to hold, and to express, his own views about whether the strike is or is not justified, although I'm not convinced that doing so is necessarily helpful to the settlement of the dispute. But the phrase that really struck me was towards the end of his interview today, where he called on the union to "put the company first".

A Labour minister suggesting that the proper responsibility of a trade union is to put the employers' interests ahead of those of its members is a staggering indication of how far that party has moved away from its roots.

6 comments:

Adam Higgitt said...

I think it is more an indication of what a parlous state BA is now in, something that all side appear to agree upon, but which none can seem to use as a basis for mutual action.

alanindyfed said...

So-called New Labour is not a socialist party, as you imply. Plaid Cymru is far more socialist in the true meaning of the word.
Anyone who has socialist leanings should not vote Labour (a very disingenuous party) but vote Plaid.

Spirit of BME said...

Mr Dixon, Your last para has got it badly wrong. Little Andy Adonis parachuted into goverment without one vote that gave him any form of democratic legitemacy.He knows nothing of the history and struggle of the Labour Movement and he sees himself a Minister of the Crown, happy to serve any colour of government.
As to the strike - Ah well. Little Willie Walsh sees this as a oppertunity to remake the tired model that the Edwards Report that put BA together and Unite (who gave Labour £4m over the last 12 months) see a oppertunity to recreate a new model based on the government backed Olympic and Alitalia Airlines.- Seconds Out.

John Dixon said...

Alan,

I don't think I did imply that.


Adam,

A fair summary of the situation at BA, of course. Even if speaking out of frustration at what he sees, Adonis' statement about putting the company first was still astonishing though.

Jeff Jones said...

It would be really unusual for a Transport Minister anywhere in the world not to comment on a major strike in one of the country's main airlines. He didn't say that the strikers should put the company first. What he did say was that the strike could threaten the future of BA which has to operate in a highly competitive market where passengers numbers are falling.Last year BA made a pre tax loss of £401 million after making a profit the year before. If it ends up loosing its core business class passengers then the situation will get worse. Just imagine the reaction if a Transport minister of an independent Wales facing a similar strike said 'Nothing to do with me guv.' With power I'm afraid comes responsiblity and that is why Gordon Brown is working to find a solution to a strike which could make the economic position of BA worse and threaten the job security of those who are thinking of going on strike. It is also not true that Adonnis will serve any Party as he has made clear to the Tories who would be delighted to keep him on as a Minister. He might not have been elected but at both education and now transport he has shown himself to be one of the government's more innovative ministers. There is also a far greater chance of a high speed rail link to Wales with Adonis in charge than Theresa Villiers.

John Dixon said...

Jeff,

"He didn't say that the strikers should put the company first."

Actually, yes, he did say exactly that. It's towards the end of the video clip of the interview with Andrew Marr.

"It would be really unusual for a Transport Minister anywhere in the world not to comment on a major strike in one of the country's main airlines."

Possibly. But there's a difference between 'comment' and aggressively siding with the employers.

"Gordon Brown is working to find a solution to a strike which could make the economic position of BA worse and threaten the job security of those who are thinking of going on strike"

And he's right to do so. Everybody's interests are best served by reaching a negotiated settlement.