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BALPA opposes general pilot strike

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has informed the Trades Union Congress (TUC) that its support for consideration of a general strike is “not in our name.”

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton unanimously passed a motion last week to support the ‘great’ British industry of aviation and develop a “clear, rational and objective” strategy as proposed by BALPA, the trade union representing 80% of the UK’s airline pilots. The Union’s support was greatly welcomed by the BALPA, as the Association aims to develop “a progressive strategy that will create jobs, do so in an environmentally sound way, and bring the joy and the opportunity for flying to all.”

However, the move to support give support to a general strike was not welcomed by BALPA. Jim McAuslan, BALPA’s General Secretary, spoke against the motion, saying, “BALPA is not afraid of standing up to employers, but today’s motion was not about challenging our employers, it was about challenging the Government. And that is a political battle which will be won or lost at the ballot box, not through widespread industrial action.

“Now is the time for trade unionists to be secure in the power of our arguments, not misled by arguments of our power. It’s a time to be cool, not prone to bluster.  Putting aside concerns about the legality of a general strike, and whether people would take part in sufficient numbers, we have to ask, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ The answer from BALPA and a number of other unions was a definite no.

“The motion carried mandates the TUC to undertake consideration of a general strike. We will join with like-minded trade unions in continuing to oppose a general strike and will use our continued membership of the TUC to argue against one.”