So, Unite (the airline union) have announced that its British Airways (BA) members intend to strike for 12 days over the Christmas period due to the company announcing job cuts and reduced pay for new starters (bearing in mind that they currently pay their staff double that of their closest rivals). This is obviously very bad news for people looking to fly from 22nd December onwards into 2010.
As always the Union fail to see the adverse impact this is going to have on consumer confidence that is likely to lead to reduced business for BA and, consequently, increased numbers of job-cuts and an increase in unemployment in the UK. Well done Unite – once again you show us how a union can really screw things up in a recession! Do you think they wake up in the morning and say to themselves – “now, how can we upset everybody even more?!”
I am digressing and would like to get back to the point at hand. So it’s apparent to all of us how Unite are going to help screw up consumer plans for Christmas but I intend to take a close look at how they could potentially damage small businesses.
With ever growing online and communications technologies the World has become a smaller place, opening up the possibilities for global trading for small businesses. So the importance for owners of small firms and their employees to travel abroad for business, at any time has become more pronounced in recent years. Consequently many of us are going to be affected by these strikes whether we like it or not.
It’s interesting that Len McCluskey, Unite’s Assistant General Secretary, announced:
“We have taken this decision to disrupt passengers with a heavy heart and we are hoping that the company can still avoid it happening.”
They were clearly thinking with their hearts and not their heads as they have completely missed the fact that repercussions from this could be huge. My main issue with these strikes is the same one I have with the CWU encouraging their Royal Mail members to strike:
An already struggling organisation will lose corporate as well as consumer confidence. This will result in significant losses for them as companies and the public alike will fly with a more reliable airline (and probably at a reduced cost). As a consequence of this, further redundancies will be made as well, pay cuts and probably longer hours for the staff they do keep on.
In addition to this I disagree with any workforce striking in a time of recession when unemployment is increasing every day. If these people don’t want to work then organisations should be able to employ people who do and will work under these changes to their staffing policy.
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