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Wednesday 19th of May 2010
May 18, 2010    

BA successful in High Court, strikes cancelled

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by Kay Murchie

Passengers will breathe a sigh of relief this morning after British Airways (BA) was successful in preventing the latest series of strikes by its cabin crew staff.

The Unite union had announced that cabin crew would strike for four separate five-day strikes in May and June - the first strike was due to start today.

The four separate five-day strikes were scheduled for: 18-22 May, 24-28 May, 30 May-3 June and 5-9 June.

However, Mr Justice McCombe of the High Court ruled last night in BA’s favour and said the decision was based on a technicality and whether Unite followed rules in contacting its members with strike result details.

BA sought to prevent the strike claiming that a “tweet” sent out by Unite did not contain full details of the ballot result, as based on 1992 legislation.

The airline claimed that emails and texts sent to Unite members did not have the information required under the 1992 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act.

However, Unite argued that with many of its cabin crew members throughout the world, it had to resort to using the internet and texting.

BA has a good track record in the High Court.

Last December, the Unite union was forced to cancel 12 days of strike action over the Christmas period after the High Court ruled that the union had not correctly included the votes of some cabin crew who had already accepted voluntary redundancy under the airline’s cost-cutting programme.

Commenting on last night’s decision, BA chief executive Willie Walsh said the strike action had been “unjustified”.

He added it was “time to move on and start rebuilding” and that he hoped to see “substantive progress in the days and weeks ahead”.

However, Unite joint leader Tony Woodley Unite was said to be angry at the decision. “Its implication is that it is now all but impossible to take legally protected strike action against any employer who wishes to seek an injunction on even the most trivial grounds,” he said.

“Because of the far-reaching consequences of this injunction for all trade unions and indeed for our democracy, we are seeking leave to appeal immediately,” he added.

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