British Airways (BA) has failed in its attempt to prevent a strike by pilots after it lost a legal challenge in the High Court.
The airline had sought a temporary injunction at the High Court to stop potential walkouts following the breakdown of talks in a row over pay.
Yesterday, the judge presiding over the case determined that pilots union British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) had issued its ballot correctly and therefore the ballot result could stand. 93 per cent of members voted for industrial action in the peak summer holiday season.
If pilots go on strike, industry forecasters claim it could cost British Airways somewhere between £30-40 million a day.
BALPA had been expected to announce a series of strike dates, affecting services from Heathrow and Gatwick, in the wake of the ruling though it agreed to hold off until BA had concluded any appeal or conceded defeat.
The airline later confirmed it would appeal – with a hearing expected this Friday or Monday also threatening the prospect of renewed talks this week at the conciliation service ACAS.
Should BA lose the case, there could be no strikes for at least two weeks following a judgment because of rules governing formal notice periods for strikes.
BALPA welcomed the news and 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.
“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.”