Court halts wave of British Airways strikes

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Airways Monday blocked a series of four five-day strikes by cabin crew after the High Court in London granted an injunction just hours before they were due to start.

The airline, facing mounting chaos because of the industrial dispute coupled with the volcanic ash cloud, succeeded in its legal action after successfully claiming that the cabin crew union's strike ballot failed to follow rules.

Members of the Unite union had been due to walk out from Tuesday to May 22, with further strikes planned on May 24-28, May 30-June 3 and June 5-9.

The airline argued that Unite had not "properly complied" with the requirement to "send everyone eligible to vote details of the exact breakdown of the ballot result" and therefore the strike action was "unlawful".

The judge expressed sympathy for the union and its members, but said: "I am unable to say it is sufficiently clear that the union took the steps required by law at the time they were required."

Unite, which is locked in an increasingly bitter battle with BA over staffing and pay, said it would appeal against the court's ruling.

BA said: "We are delighted for our customers that Unite's plans for extreme and unjustified strike action cannot go ahead."

The airline said it had already been forced to rearrange much of its schedule to accommodate the planned strike, but promised to restore a full flying programme at its London Heathrow base by the weekend.

© 2010 AFP

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