British Airways union official in sacking debacle

A Unite union official claims he has been sacked by British Airways (BA) for gross misconduct.

Duncan Holley, who has served 12 years as secretary of the branch of Unite that represents cabin crew, believes he was shown the door because he took time off work before Christmas to perform his union duties.

Unite and BA are currently locked in dispute over pay and working conditions. Cabin crew went on strike in March and union reps are expected to push for longer strikes as a new wave of industrial action is likely to be announced the day after the general election.

A Unite spokeswoman said the union would be appealing against the dismissal. “The company’s vindictive operation of the disciplinary procedures seems designed to hinder any peaceful resolution of this dispute.”

She added that more than 55 crew had been suspended pending investigation over trivial matters, and cited the case of one worker – with 30 years of experience – being suspended for having coffee with a striker.

“Duncan is the fifth crew member to have been sacked since the strikes began in March,” she added.

A spokesman for BA said: “It is entirely appropriate and reasonable for the airline to investigate serious allegations of misconduct.

“The company’s disciplinary process has been in place for many years and has been agreed with all of the airline’s recognised trade unions, including Unite.

“As a responsible company, we would not divulge details of individual cases.”

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