Thursday 22 March 2018

BA cabin crew can strike, court says

Getty Images
Getty Images

Christopher Scinta

British Airways flight attendants should be allowed to strike, the court of appeal in London ruled, setting aside a ruling blocking the walkout.

The union said it won’t start walkouts this week.

Unite, the union representing British Airways cabin crew members appealed a May 17 decision by Judge Richard McCombe of the High Court in London who blocked the walkout, ruling that union members weren’t adequately informed by Internet postings of the results of a strike vote.

“BA cabin members are highly computer literate,” Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge, who was on the appeals court panel, said today.

“They use the Internet on a daily basis. The website is indeed the most effective way of communicating.”

Prior to the judgment, the airline’s 12,000 flight attendants were planning to strike for five days beginning May 18. It was to be the first of four walkouts totaling 20 days.

While the union could have started the strike immediately, it won’t take any action this week, Unite’s joint general secretary Derek Simpson said.

The airline said in an emailed statement it was very disappointed in the appeal ruling and was “confident” cabin crew would ignore any call to strike.

The union scheduled the walkout after workers rejected the most recent pay and staffing proposals from the airline, Europe’s third-biggest.

McCombe’s decision brought a “premature end” to separate settlement talks between the airline and the union in the 15-month-old dispute, according to Unite.

Unite members already held two other strikes over seven days in March that cost the airline £45m (€52m) in lost revenue.

The ruling was the result of British Airways’ second request since December for a court to block a strike by its workers.

Judge Laura Cox ruled on December 17 that a prior Unite strike vote was invalid because it included people who had already agreed to leave the airline.


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