BA cabin crew: the militants in the skies?
As I am in the USA, and going to be crossing the Atlantic a couple of times in the next few weeks, I find I have become more interested in the BA cabin crew dispute, and whether their new strike ballot will lead to a walk-out that will affect me.
This is, I am afraid, the self-interested approach to industrial relations -- and it is rather shamingly like my intense interest in the possibility of a federal government shutdown in Washington DC (if it closes the National Gallery, then I wont be able to give my lectures, after all this work . . .). Yes, I know this approach is unworthy, when other people wont be getting their pay-checks and the their Social Security payments and I will be the least important casualty in the grand scheme of things, but it's also human.
But as I have said before, the whole BA dispute is a bit of a mystery to me. Frankly the cabin crew don't look like militants; in fact, they seem more like Daily Mail readers than Guardian. And if you had to offer a crude stereotype (to which I KNOW there are hundreds of exceptions, before you lash out at me)... it would be a combination of men in more or less stable gay relationships, and women who are, well, rather like Kate Middleton's mum.
So how do we explain their apparent intransigence?
One possibility is that I havent seen a representative cross section of these people. Maybe on routes I dont travel, there are stewards whose hammer and sickle tattoes are just visible beyond their cuffs as they collect the head phones, or flog the duty-frees . . .and who cunningly spit into the food of the premium class passengers (that old restaurant trick of the underpaid and angry).
The other possibility is that the management is so hopelessly out of touch, unbending and inflammatory that it has driven these usually calm and conservative types to say enough is enough.
My money is on the latter.