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By Ray Fleming

THE impending strike by British Airways cabin crew is going to inconvenience many passengers, may threaten BA's long-term viability and is a gift to the Conservative Party at just the moment that it needed a cause of this kind to regain some of the ground it has been losing to Labour in the opinion polls.

In a more general sense it is true that Britain's economic recovery will not he helped by an impression that its trade unions are looking for a fight at a time that large scale cuts in government programmes are in the offing.

Having said all that, I find many of the reactions to the strike call worrying in their implied rejection of workers' right to strike. To hear the chairman of the Conservative Party calling on the prime minister to suspend Labour's financial relationship with Unite, the union behind the BA strike, is to wonder whether a new Conservative government will devise ways of preventing trade unions from spending their money as they think fit. The attack of the increasingly prominent Labour peer, Lord Adonis, in which he said the strike is “totally unjustified” gives the impression that it is an old-fashioned wild cat strike rather than one which has been balloted for twice and twice approved by a large majority. Why are suitably adapted remarks of this kind not addressed to Willie Walsh the CEO of BA who is not altogether blameless in this dispute?