People who saw the news last night will be aware that members of the Socialist Workers Party and possibly some others from a Right to Work Conference happening nearby got into the talks at ACAS which were taking place between Willie Walsh of BA and the the leaders of Unite. Their intervention appears to have caused the ending of the talks.
Alot of people will be wondering exactly what this apparently rather self-indulgent action was designed to achieve. As far as anyone knows, no BA workers were involved and none were asked by the SWP whether they actually wanted them to disrupt these talks in this way. Sometimes it is good to have a demo outside negotiations and if workers involved in a dispute smell a sell-out then they may wish to take some direct action. Neither situation seems to apply here.
Now it is certainly true that various commentators in the blogosphere who do not wish the SWP well, are using this incident to both attack the SWP and to herald its impending doom as an organisation. To me, the charitable explanation is that some people went along to demonstrate outside the talks, someone said "let's go in", and everyone then finds alot less security than they were expecting and before they know it they have Walsh and Woodley stood in front of them. This might explain some of the bemusement I discerned from my TV screen on the faces of some of the people involved.
What is clear is that either the SWP needs to explain what this action was designed to achieve, and why they suddenly had the right to assume leadership of this strike......or if it was a cock-up they need to own up and apologise. They need to do one of these things if they hope to rescue some credibility for themselves.