British Airways has failed in its bid to obtain a high court injunction to prevent potential strike action by its pilots this summer. The judge presiding over the case determined that the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) union had issued its ballot correctly and therefore the ballot result could stand.
The ballot, held on July 22nd resulted in 93% of Balpa members voting in favour of industrial action, although no potential strike dates have yet been announced.
The airline said it remained open to working with the union to reach an agreement and Balpa has also said it still hoped that the dispute could be settled.
BA’s Balpa members rejected a pay increase worth 11.5% over three years, which BA had described as “fair and generous.” However, the union says that the pilots deserve more as BA has been making good profits.
Balpa general secretary, Brian Strutton, said the strong vote in favour of strike action demonstrated “the resolve of BA pilots” and said the airline “must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted”. He added: “We do not wish to inconvenience our customers, which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November. It is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”
Welcoming the July 23 court victory, Mr Strutton, said “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.
“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. The company itself has admitted that even one day of strike action would cost more than what our pilots are asking for, so the ball really is in their court here, to look after their pilots and ensure the hardworking public get to continue their holidays as planned.
“Although legally clear to do so, we have still not set any strike dates to give BA one last chance to commit to negotiating on pilots pay and rewards with us at ACAS later this week.”