From the Telegraph:
"Cabin crew at British Airways have been told by union activists to refuse to close aircraft window blinds after each flight because it could risk their health and safety.
The latest example of restrictive union practices at the airline was revealed in a memo circulated to workers who have taken 22 days of strike action since March in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.
The notice, posted on an online forum for the 11,000 cabin crew members of Unite, urged workers to "politely refuse" to close the shades because the task had "not been agreed" with union.
It follows the news that crew refused to distribute hot towels to passengers in its premium economy cabin, World Traveller Plus, unless the number of crew on each Boeing 747 flight was increased from 15 to 16. The hot towel service has now been introduced, but some cabin crew reportedly still refuse to give them out because it is not a union-sanctioned activity.
Cabin crew were asked by the airline to lower the shades after passengers disembark because direct sunlight can cause aircraft cabins to become uncomfortably hot while the planes are parked on stands.
The memo, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, says: "It has been brought to our attention that crew are being asked to close all the window blinds at the end of each flight. This has not been agreed with BASSA [branch of Unite] and no safe working practice has been trialled.
"The normal practice when anything new is introduced is that the Health, Safety and Welfare committee would carry out a risk assessment to confirm that everything is safe.
"Please note that no provision has been put in place for this extra duty and therefore you should not be carrying it out. If we do this it will become normal working practice and you will then become obliged to do it and then what next – pick up all the litter?
"Please politely refuse if you are asked to do this at the end of your flight."
A spokesman for Unite said it had "repudiated" the memo because unofficial action was illegal, and said the instruction should be ignored. "This just shows the level of ill-feeling on both sides of this dispute," he said.
A BA spokesman said: "Asking crew to close window blinds before they leave the aircraft is a reasonable request with absolutely no health and safety implications.
"Closing the blinds helps to keep the cabin cool while the aircraft is parked. This allows reduces the need for air conditioning power units on the ground, saving carbon emissions.
"It also provides a comfortable environment for customers and crew boarding for the next flight, and helps to ensure a punctual departure."
Talks between BA and Unite are set to continue on Monday in a bid to avert more strikes next month.
www.baisshite.com the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline. This site contains updates on the ongoing strike action, and dispute between BA and Unite.