Belfast Telegraph

BA sacks union official amid row

By Alan Jones

A union official representing British Airways cabin crew has been sacked, inflaming the bitter dispute which has led to a series of strikes.

Duncan Holley, branch secretary of the British Airways Stewards and Stewardesses Association (Bassa), a section of the giant Unite union, worked for the airline on its Eurofleet business.

He is the fifth union member to be sacked by the airline following a series of walkouts in March which crippled flights and cost BA millions of pounds.

Unite is balloting its 12,000 members on a new offer aimed at resolving the long-running dispute, with officials "strongly" recommending rejection.

The union could set new strike dates early next week if the cabin crew vote to reject the new offer.

Mr Holley (54) said he had been sacked for his union activities, including taking time off to carry out his union duties.

The union will lodge an appeal against My Holley's sacking.

Mr Holley said BA had always allowed him to take time off work to undertake union duties, but this changed when he asked to be away from work last December.

He said he had important union work to conduct, dealing with the dispute which later led to the strikes, but BA refused to give him time off. He took time off and was subsequently charged with gross misconduct.

Mr Holley (54), who worked for BA for more than 34 years, said: "My dismissal is a political decision because I have done nothing wrong.

"They have sacked me in the middle of a dispute - the timing says it all."

A BA spokesman said: "It is entirely appropriate and reasonable for us 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."