British Airways is one of the most importantly visible promoters of the UK brand in the world. Exporting manufacturers, media organisations, universities, sportsmen and women, politicians…They all benefit from Brand Britain.
And when they do, so do taxation revenues from the profits that flow, so do the jobs from the growth that is achieved and so does the morale of the Nation.
All that is currently imperilled by the action of Unite.
The Union doesn’t have public sympathy yet in Scargillesque fashion they maintain their turkey-like determination to vote for Christmas.
BA is still ridden with working practices from another age. Its cabin crew (frankly the best I meet in a job where I meet so many) are the best paid and enjoy benefits and conditions that are the envy of their peers and the private sector generally.
If the Nation still wants a viable National Carrier to carry the fight and project Brand Britain (something also ably done by smaller UK rivals who are not weighed down by once being a nationalised industry, with all that meant in Union power and statist malaise) then this is the fight that must not be compromised or lost.
It is no coincidence that the Unite leader of the strike is aiming for the big job after the Woodley / Simpson axis ends. He needs a scrap to put him on the map.
Amid stories of seventies-style intimidation, the members of Unite deserve better than this. The Union’s fight to keep skilled jobs in UK manufacturing over the past year has been right on the page of twenty first century trade unionism. What we are witnessing with BA raises the point that they really haven’t changed at all.