As the tensions rose during the last-ditch negotiations between British Airways CEO Willie Walsh and the Unite union leadership representing the cabin crew, one of the most bizarre causes of a breakdown in communications was that communications breakthrough, Twitter.
According to media reports, weekend talks to prevent today’s walkout were going well until Walsh realized that Derek Simpson, Unite’s joint general secretary, was sending ‘tweets’ of the progress on Twitter – the public Web site where members post messages 140 characters or less.
So if you want to take a peek at the tweets that the airline claims helped sink negotiations, here they are:
- About to make another attempt to persuade Willie Walsh to stop trying for regime change and stop being vindictive 6:14 PM May 21st via Twitter
- Wllie Walsh reckons Tony and I cannot make a settlement ... He is right but he is also the reason why !! 6:14 p.m. May 21st via Twitter
- Anybody know how to change your twitter name 7:23 PM May 21st via Twitter
- Talks still ongoing .... Still hard going and progress hard won 12:40 AM May 22nd via Twitter
- Willie and Tony (Woodley, Unite’s co-general secretary) locking horns over accusations of unequal treatment of allegations of bullying 12:58 AM May 22nd via Twitter
- ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) may become independant (sic) observers 1:00 AM May 22nd via Twitter
- Willie claims he is misquoted on websites 1:01 AM May 22nd via Twitter
- Arguments over the 8 sacked workers. 1:02 AM May 22nd via Twitter
- Fear of more sackings to come 1:03 AM May 22nd via Twitter for BlackBerry®
- When employees on both sides of the dispute hide their faces when interviewing ... Then something is badly wrong down at BA 1:05 AM May 22nd via Twitter
- Intruders from left political group has infiltrated ACAS building and disrupted talks ..... Police called ... Much noise and stamping 1:28 AM May 22nd via Twitter (Talks ended when protesters stormed the building).
So, a question – was the company right to be upset over public updates of the negotiations? Was the union right to keep people updated?