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British Airways loses court bid to avert pilot strikes


UK pilot union BALPA is giving British Airways "one last chance" to negotiate on pay and benefits after the carrier lost a High Court bid to prevent strike action. Pilots on July 22 voted to strike over pay. The next day, a High Court judge ruled that the ballot had been issued correctly and that the result could therefore stand.

BA says it will appeal the judgement, but is also urging the union to return to talks. "We are very disappointed with today's decision," stated the IAG-owned carrier on July 23. "We will continue to pursue every avenue to protect the holidays of thousands of our customers this summer."

BALPA described the delay caused by the court action as frustrating. "BA could have spent this time coming back to the negotiating table instead of trying – and failing – to tie us up in legal knots," said general secretary Brian Strutton.

"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," he added.

Strutton says the two sides are due to hold talks under conciliation service Acas on July 26, but fears they may be postponed due to BA's legal appeal.

BA argues that its offer of an 11.5% increase over three years is "fair". BALPA warns that one day of strikes would cost BA more than what their pilots are asking for.

"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," said Strutton.


KJM Today Opinion

by Kevan James


With revenue totalling $17296m in 2018 and 278 aircraft in service, an all-out strike grounding the airline would undoubtedly be a massive blow and at a time when most airlines are at their busiest.

That however, raises another question; why go on strike now? The obvious answer is that it causes maximum disruption to the employer, in this case BA. But it also causes huge disruption to people, many of them holidaymakers who will have saved up for some time to take much-needed time off and to travel somewhere they might possibly not have done before. On top of that there is probable disruption to business traffic which, given that business fares are usually much higher than that paid by those going on holiday, is the lifeblood of the airline industry.