Following the announcement yesterday, Monday 22 July 2019, that British Airways pilots have voted in favour of industrial action in a pay dispute with the airline, BA has failed to secure an injunction at the High Court to prevent BALPA from calling a strike.
The background to this is that ten years ago, BA successfully secured an injunction at the High Court to prevent its cabin crew union from striking after it was found that, inter alia, erroneous voting instructions were issued by a union officer to its members.
Since then, airlines have regularly used the courts to try and stop strikes from going ahead.
The courts have subsequently had little sympathy. Whilst unions have to follow set rules in strike ballots, they are not there to act as tripwire to prevent strikes from going ahead.
BA is seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
In the interim, BALPA has not set any dates for strike action and remains open to talks at the conciliation service ACAS, as per this statement:
The British Airline Pilots Association has said it is pleased it has successfully defended an application for a High Court injunction brought against it by British Airways in relation to its strike ballot of members.
Today the judge presiding over the case determined that the pilots union had issued its ballot correctly and therefore the ballot result could stand.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian 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 most 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.”