Hundreds of striking British Airways cabin crew and their supporters were in high spirits today at dispute HQ – just across the road from London’s massive Heathrow airport.
Scores of pickets were on duty from 6am and persistent rain failed to dampen the resolve of the Unite union members, who are fighting to save jobs and their hard won terms and conditions.
Rows of BA planes parked up inside the airport were a clear indicator that the stoppage was biting.
The strikers – who have been under attack from politicians and the capitalist media – were pleasantly surprised by the level of support.
Other airport workers joined passing bus and lorry drivers to toot their horns in support of the pickets.
Firefighters offered shelter to strikers who were stationed near their base, and BA workers not involved in the dispute sneaked out hot drinks to their picketing colleagues.
Supporters from other Unite branches, sister unions and socialist and environmental campaigns swelled the numbers.
A rally was addressed by local Labour MP John McDonnell and Unite general secretary candidate Len McCluskey. Jerry Hicks, who plans to contest the union leadership election, was also there.
The anger of the crowd was focused on BA boss Willie Walsh. He earns £750,000 per annum but is out to cut the pay and conditions of low paid airline workers.
“Willie! Willie! Willie! Out! Out! Out!” was the chant of choice.
The cabin crew were clearly buoyed by the support of other trade unionists.
You can text messages straight to the picket line on 07850 905787.
Visit the strike HQ at Bedfont FC, The Orchard, Hatton Road, Bedfont, Middlesex, TW14 8QT. There’s free tea and cake, a bar, and a big screen to watch the news from elsewhere.
Send the strikers a message of support, or ask for a speaker: firstname.lastname@example.org