[Marxism] BA Flights Resume at Heathrow (BBC News)
Jscotlive at aol.com
Jscotlive at aol.com
Fri Aug 12 23:01:13 MDT 2005
British Airways has resumed limited flights from Heathrow airport, the
The flights come after two thirds of BA staff who took part in an unofficial
strike earlier returned to work. The action had been in support of hundreds
of employees of Gate Gourmet who were dismissed on Wednesday in a dispute
over working practices.
The airline had earlier responded to the strike by cancelling all flights to
and from the airport, and there were growing fears that the disruption could
continue for several dayTens of thousands of passengers were stranded
because of the dispute, which caused travel chaos in one of the busiest weeks of
the year for the airline industry.
BA paid for 4,000 passengers to stay in hotels on Thursday while several
hundred others slept in the terminals in the hope services would soon return to
normal. A huge marquee was erected to accommodate passengers who turned up
despite being urged to stay away from the airport.
Just before 6pm, BA announced it was resuming a limited number of flights
from Heathrow, although disruption was expected to continue. Passengers
remained disgruntled about the lack of information being passed to them.
Susan and Graham Webster from Sydney, Australia said they were £600 out of
pocket as a result of the disruption. The couple, who are due to fly to
Singapore at 9.30pm before flying home twodays later, booked an extra two nights
accommodation in London and Singapore just in case their flight was cancelled
because they did not want to end up with nowhere to go.
Mrs Webster said communication with passengers had been "very poor''.
"We both work in the emergency services in Australia and we are used to good
communication when a disaster is on.
"They could have done a lot more. It was obviously lacking at the critical
The resumption of flights followed an agreement by managers from Gate
Gourmet to meet officials from the Transport and General Workers Union to try to
resolve the sackings row.
The two sides met at a hotel near Heathrow under the chairmanship of the
conciliation service Acas.
Analysts said the disruption was set to lose BA up to £40 million because of
the refunds, loss of flight revenues and the cost of putting passengers up
BA's flights would normally have been busy in the past few days as people
went on holiday during the height of the summer season. The union held a mass
meeting for many of the Gate Gourmet workers who were sacked.
Brendan Gold, the union's national officer, said the TGWU was determined to
try to win back the jobs of the 800 workers he said had been sacked.
He said the workers had been left "angry and upset'' and now faced an
uncertain future. The union revealed that some workers who had been off sick this
week had been sent letters telling them they were being dismissed.
One man said he had put in an offer on a house and had been left "totally
devastated'' by what had happened this week. The company maintained that 670
workers had been sacked, claiming they had taken unofficial industrial action.
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