Thursday, December 17, 2009
It seems to be quite a high life working for British Airways. The management has put all the evidence out there in the Daily Mail. This changes the image of the dispute. Now it looks as though BA staff are more like the printers in the good old days of Fleet Street.
A tear springs to my eye when I remember how they used to pour oil on the web (paper) so that it broke and halted production. Or how a printer violently smacked my hand when I accidentally brushed some lead type. Or how a rather pathetic machine printing out City prices - I was once a financial journalist - was examined by union bosses who feared it might jeopardise their second keystroke monopoly. Or how we'd slave all day to put the paper together only to see it all lost in some petty power play. Or how people named Mickey Mouse could pick up pay packets. Or how 'Old Spanish Practices' could keep whole families in non-jobs. Or how journalists got threatened and beaten up when Murdoch moved to Wapping. Or how a whole industry and culture existed in a state of permanent blackmail. Good times.
Then there was Jack Jones, once thought to be the most powerful man in Britain, who was passing Labour Party documents to the Soviets. There was Arthur 'combover' Scargill saying the miners won just because they had a strike. There was Tony Benn, condemning violence but only away from the picket line. I could go on for pages and pages.
I hope nice Mr Woodley of Unite remembers those times as clearly as I do. I am not entirely convinced that he does.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:16 am