I don’t know the details of the recent industrial dispute at British Airways but in a virtual discussion with a virtual friend and regular Simplicity contributor David Wike we've shared thoughts about the implications of industrial disputes in 2007 compared with a few years ago.
Let’s be frank, in the ‘old days’ an industrial dispute was a fight
It was unions against managers
It was pistols at dawn
It was daggers drawn
It was war
It was the survival of the fittest
It was ‘too hell with customers’
I think things have changed dramatically.
Nowadays because customers have so much choice they don’t really care what is happening in such disputes because the customer will merely vote with his/her feet and go somewhere else for a service that can be provided without the hassle of disruption due to some parochial argument between management and workers.
It seems to me this culture change will require a totally new approach from senior managers and leaders to sort out disputes with the CUSTOMER IN MIND FIRST rather than their own respective and relatively less important agendas.
Maybe I am wrong and I would be fascinated to hear your views.
My understanding is that many regular BA customers defected to Virgin last week because they had no other option. BA Senior Managers must surely be wondering if those customers are lost forever. Whether or not they are I wonder what BA managers have learned through this dispute.