British Airways has failed in it’s bid to win an injunction against the BALPA pilots union and stop flight crew walking out on strike during the busy Summer holiday period. The Heathrow-based airline went to London’s High Court this morning arguing there were irregulaties in the union ballot but lawyers representing British Airways ultimately failed go convince the court.
Yesterday, the union announced the result of a two week-long ballot, with 93% of votes backing a walkout in a dispute over pay and conditions for nearly 4,000 pilots represented by BALPA. British Airways said it was “very disappointed” in the result and claimed the pilots had “chosen” to disrupt families over the summer holidays.
BALPA has not yet announced a strike date but says that British Airways could save itself a considerable sum by simply meeting the demands of pilots. In today’s court hearing, the airline claimed each day of strike action could cost it as much as £40 million.
British Airways has been granted leave to appeal today’s decision and the union has decided to hold off announcing a strike date until that appeal has been heard. BALPA would have to give at least two weeks notice of any planned strike.
“While we’re pleased with the judge’s decision, we’re frustrated that time has been wasted. BA could have spent this time coming back to the negotiating table instead of trying – and failing – to tie us up in legal knots,” commented Brian Strutton, general secretary of the BALPA union.
Further talks are now likely to be postponed he explained.
“This delay will now continue with BA seeking to appeal against the Hight Court’s decision. As a result it’s now likely the talks scheduled with ACAS on Friday will have to be postponed.”
“We ask that BA thinks hard about why 93% of our members feel so strongly about taking strike action,” he continued.
British Airways has offered an 11.5% pay rise over three years and claims that unions who represent over 90% of staff have already recommended accepting the deal. Results of a ballot on accepting that deal by cabin crew and ground staff are expected to be announced next week.