Breaking news - British Airways strikes off, declared "illegal"

17 December 2009


A strike by British Airways cabin crew planned for Christmas has been declared illegal in a High Court ruling.

The court agreed with BA that the cabin crew's union, Unite, had not correctly balloted its members on the strike action.

The injunction means that the 12-day strike cannot now go ahead.

Unite called it "a disgraceful day for democracy" and vowed to hold a fresh ballot of cabin crew if the dispute with BA was not resolved.


Commenting on the BA website, a statement from the airline read:

In recent days, we believe Unite has formed a better understanding of our position and of the ways in which we could move forward. It has also become very clear that our customers do not believe that old-style trade union militancy is relevant to our efforts to move British Airways back toward profitability. Financial success is essential to build the kind of business our customers want and provide long-term opportunities for our staff.

TOPICS:   Travel


  • dave
    Aaawww shame, I hoped there would be a strike so they would lose business and have a sale next year so I can travel in something other than cattle class. Poo!
  • Gunn
    Happy for those people who were flying at Xmas, the ballot and possibly strike can still go ahead in the New Year if they still want too.
  • Nobby
    Will the staff vote for a strike now they know the unions will make it as long as they like? By the sound of it, many voted for a strike without knowing how long it was going to be (and when it was going to be). Will the members purposely damage the company they work for, meaning more of them are likely to end up unemployed?
  • Businessman
    See I told you it was just business. BA found a technicality; they knew it was not really material (had not anyway affected the result of the vote) but nevertheless they were able to exploit the loophole in a way that worked for them. This is what you do in business and all well within the rules.
  • Matt
    Could be a good result for everyone. Strike's off. BA now know that Unite are serious. Unite haven't had to back down. They're talking again.
  • warwick h.
    B.A. management have been back scuttling all their "pals" in the judiciary to get this declared in their favour, its a bad day for democracy when you cant legally withdraw your labour because some poncy arse bandit judge backs his mates.
  • callum
    Maybe if Unite had followed the law in the first place, BA wouldn't have won the case. Yes, they won on a technicality, but it was a technicality unite created. Warwick - you can legally withdraw your labour, its just against your terms of employment contract to just walk out. If this was a legitimate strike, they would have been perfectly entitled to walk out, but it was an illegal strike. No, its not because they were bribed or anything, its because the strike was illegal. The article I read also implied it was illegal because of the disruption to the public. Either way, I'm very glad its been called off. Its very immoral to do something like this - imagine how upset hundreds, maybe thousands, of people would be because this strike had cut them off from their family at Christmas (in many interviews, fathers were looking at not being able to see their very young children at all throughout the festive season). And thats just ignoring the complete greed shown by them.
  • Businessman
    I know it's a lot to ask but wondering if we could have a nice clean debate this time round. I'm looking at you WH (if you could call in a favour from friend in high places you would too, admit it) and callum (doubt if you'd use the g-word if it was *your* benefits under attack.)
  • callum
    What benefits? I work full-time for £4.83 an hour and my holiday allowance is based on an 8-hour week. I don't think there is any way I could legally get any less than I do now... Regardless, I still think its greedy to go on strike over such a small thing (especially with such a high rate of unemployment), when your pay is ridiculously generous in the first place.
  • Roger
    I just hope they don't do it now at the end of January when I go away! Hope both sides will actually sit down and talk. The unions need to realise the world that the airlines are working in now. It's not as if BA are making millions.
  • Hi O.
    Who cares. I'm also glad they have a nice shiny new terminal at Heathrow all to themselves...makes them even easier to avoid! :)
  • -]
    Time for a wildcat strike.
  • bobby
    saw on the news yest that the average Virgin cabin crew is £15k while BA's is £30k. So what is that all about?
  • MattWPBS
    BA staff have a union who looks after them. Virgin staff don't. Everyone does realise that BA made record profits over the last few years, right?
  • Seasiderdave
    "Everyone does realise that BA made record profits over the last few years, right?" Yes, so above industry average wages were 'acceptable'. The company is now losing money hand over fist but the unions do not see the sense in BA trying to save itself as a business and protect their members future careers. The private sector is seeing realtime pay cuts for existing staff in many industries and I'm disappointed Unite aren't behaving in a similar way to how they did with Vauxhall in negotiating a suitable solution.
  • British B.
    [...] see staff walking out at the end of January. At this time last year, the union was attempting to disrupt travel over Christmas until their ballot was deemed illegal, so instead strikes happened occurred the Easter break [...]

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