If the purpose of a strike or a union in any industry is to make employers pay attention and treat employees better, then why would they arrange the time of the strike to accommodate the needs of their employer? If the employer is comfortable with the situation, what incentive would they have to try to reach an amicable agreement to please both themselves and the employees? None. This is the situation that Virgin Atlantic find themselves in now, at Christmas, one of the busiest times of the year for shopping, economy, travel and more.
The Professional Pilots Union (PPU), which represents one-third of Virgin's 960 pilots, wants the airline to recognise it so it can negotiate for pay and conditions on behalf of its members. Having failed to do so, some members are planning to stage a series of walkouts, which are expected to start on Saturday and continue into the New Year. However, rather than try to come to some sort of arrangement to stop them from striking, Virgin have instead gone to the courts, seeking a legal injunction to stop them from striking over Christmas. If this is allowed, the future implications for unions across all industries, not to mention employee contracts, could be monumental. Freedom gone, hands tied.
‘Most pilots will work continue to work normally, 16% will strike.’
With the world going crazy over freedom of speech (inadvertently causing lack of freedom of speech through fear of opinion and labelling, often by those who profess to be giving ‘power back to the people’, but who are actually gagging them **cough Jeremy Corbyn**), sexism and the ‘Me Too’ movement (which enters murky waters as only this week UK women politicians have cottoned on to it, trying to use it to their advantages, after Corbyn called British Prime Minister Teresa May a ‘stupid woman’ during Prime Minister’s Questions at Parliament, in a way that wasn’t necessary and is actually a step back in terms of equality – note: you’re a politician, the same as Jeremy and the other men and women. You achieved it, so gender has nothing to do with it. Rather than ‘me too’-ing that someone called you a woman, which you are, why aren’t you instead taking offense at the fact that they called you stupid *shakes head*, which is by far the more offensive term. Did you ever question that by not questioning that, but debating the whole gender aspect, maybe you’ve given Jeremy (who I’m normally not a big fan of) the upper hand and proved him right?), the snowflake society, and contestant accusations and jibes at racism or other forms of discrimination in ways that are non-existent (high-street chain Forever 21 using a white model to showcase a Black Panther film-inspired Wakanda jumper – does it matter? Surely the fact that they are wearing them is a sign of equality in itself), the power of unions and freedom to stand up and be counted is more important than ever.
What I’m trying to say is that all of the people professing to be empowering people and encouraging free speech and rights against ‘The Boss’ are actually going a long way towards stopping it. Through fear, through public contrition or mocking, complaining they’ve been discriminated at every little thing, and now by law.
Virgin Atlantic, whatever their reasons and however busy the Christmas period will be, should not be able to get away with legally stopping a union from protesting for better treatment. If unions lose their legal right to do that – to stand up and protect their members in a way that amicably gets the attention of- and opens discussion with- the employers to give them better rights – then what are they there for?
If Virgin feel that it will, as it certainly will, cause damage to their reputation, disruption for their customers and result in them financially profiting (and then losing) due to a service that they cannot provide, then they need to do something about it. Man up, look at why the problem exists and why workers want to strike and reach an agreement.
The same with politicians. Don’t complain and don’t wimp out just because people called you a name. ‘Stupid man’, ‘stupid woman’ or just plain ‘stupid’… that’s not a legal issue and it certainly doesn’t do anything for gender equality, job equality, mental equality or for you being taken seriously in any other way. How to get taken seriously and make them shut up: tell them ‘no’ and prove them wrong. The same with Virgin Atlantic. All you have to do is acknowledge a workers’ union, that your workers are well within their rights to be a part of, and the strike wouldn’t happen.
World, brands, Virgin Atlantic and Parliament… Man Up!