British Airways (BA) today lost its Court of Appeal bid to block its pilots from taking strike action in a dispute over pay.
The ruling means that BA pilots are set to go on strike, most likely in August, the carrier’s peak season for flights.
The Court of Appeal rejected the airline’s attempt to injunct the British Airline Pilots’ Association’s (BALPA) proposed industrial action on a technicality.
Last week, the High Court had dismissed the case after BA appealed against the decision and sought a temporary injunction.
Pilot members of BALPA voted in support of industrial action earlier this month. 93 per cent voted in favour of strike action. A series of strikes are set to take place at London Heathrow and London Gatwick but have yet to be formally announced.
If pilots go on strike, industry forecasters claim it could cost BA somewhere between £30-40 million a day.
BALPA general secretary, Brian Strutton said: “BA’s attempt to defeat the democratic view of their pilots in court, rather than deal with us across the negotiating table, has sadly wasted huge amounts of time and money that could have been put into finding a peaceful resolution. Now the window for negotiation and compromise is closing fast.
“BA need to wake up to reality. Our ballot returned 93% in favour of strike action. There is a serious issue here and BA has so far refused to help us tackle it.
“On BA’s own figures submitted to the court, even a single day of strike action will cost far more than we believe it would take to settle this dispute.
“However, BALPA wants to resolve this matter through negotiation and so we are not announcing strike dates. Instead, we have called on BA to hold further talks at ACAS and they have agreed to meet at ACAS today and for the rest of this week for one last try to resolve this dispute by negotiation.
“We have spent four days in talks at ACAS already, and BA refused to move their position one iota. But we hope they now recognise the seriousness of the situation and will work positively with us to find a way forward.
“We are not announcing strike dates today. In any event we are required by law to provide BA with 14 days’ notice of any proposed strike action.”