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Court rules BA cabin crew can't strike over Christmas

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Serendipity, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Serendipity

    Serendipity JF-Expert Member

    Dec 19, 2009
    Joined: Jan 24, 2009
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    BRITISH AIRWAYS won a High Court injunction to block a 12-day Christmas strike which threatened to ruin the travel plans of more than a million people.
    The judge said that union leaders had breached the rules on balloting for industrial action, which would have cost the airline tens of millions of euros.
    The judgment was condemned by Unite, which represents 13,500 British Airways (BA) staff, as a "disgraceful day for democracy".
    Cabin crew were due to walk out on Tuesday and not return until January 3 in a dispute over plans to cut costs.
    The planned disruption would have lasted well into the new year and would have severely damaged BA, which lost €451m in the last financial year.
    The strike call was backed by 92.5pc of those who participated in the ballot.
    Many were angered by what they saw as the imposition of new working conditions by Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive.
    But BA sought an injunction on the grounds that there had been significant irregularities in the ballot, including the participation of several hundred people who had already agreed severance terms.
    "A strike of this kind over the 12 days of Christmas is fundamentally more damaging to BA and the wider public than a strike taking place at almost any other time of the year," the judge said.
    She added that the union should have prevented members taking part in the ballot if they had accepted redundancy from the airline.
    The judge denied the union leave to appeal after she rejected its argument that BA's "intransigence" was to blame for the failure to exclude departing workers.
    Last night, Unite said it would nevertheless try to challenge the decision at the UK Court of Appeal, although it accepted this could not be done before Christmas.
    It also said it would hold a fresh ballot. "We are not going away, we are Willie's headache for 2010," one union source said.
    A fresh vote could lead to a strike in February, but this would cause the airline considerably less damage.
    A British Airways spokesman welcomed the court ruling: "There was never any need for a strike and we hope that Unite will take this opportunity to reflect before deciding its next steps."
    BA was in talks with union leaders yesterday in an effort to settle the dispute.

    Source;Irish Independent