Union formation and worker resistance in a multinational: a personal account of an Asian cabin crew member in UK civil aviation

I. Byford, Susan Wong

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Abstract

This article presents a first-hand account and afterword by ‘Susan Wong’ on the formation of an Asian cabin crew trade union followed by a nine-year period of resistance in response to imposed changes to employment terms and conditions by the management of a UK multi-national airline. The main issue was an imposed premature retirement age compared to UK based colleagues. Opposition occurred in the UK courts, to identify the correct employment jurisdiction and then cite both age and race discrimination. The workers’ victory over the company which had similar plans for other overseas workers demonstrates union efficacy and Susan’s determination and resilience. The narrative enhances the understanding of the micro-processes of mobilisation, the nature of discrimination and identity, and the lived experience of combining cabin crew work with union activism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1030-1038
JournalWork Employment & Society
Volume30
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • WNU
  • civil aviation
  • discrimination
  • mobilisation theory
  • trade unions
  • worker narrative

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