British Airways has failed in its bid to overturn a pilots strike ballot – but has vowed to take the case to the Court of Appeal.
Balpa’s BA members voted overwhelmingly for strike action following a two-week ballot, which closed on Monday (22 July). Some 93% of members voted to walk out on a turnout of 90%.
On Tuesday (23 July), Balpa successfully defended its strike ballot in the High Court following an application by BA for an injunction to annul the vote.
BA has confirmed it will take the case to the Court of Appeal.
Balpa general secretary welcomed the judge’s decision, ruling the union had balloted members correctly and that the result should stand.
"While we’re pleased with the judge’s decision, we’re frustrated 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 the Hight Court’s decision. As a result, it’s now likely the talks scheduled with Acas on Friday (26 July) 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 even one day of strike action would cost more than what our pilots are asking for, so the ball really is in their court to look after their pilots and ensure the hardworking public get to continue their holidays as planned.”
Strutton added Balpa, while legally clear to do so, has not yet called any firm strike dates to give BA “one last chance” to negotiate a settlement.
Balpa and BA are at loggerheads over a new pay deal, which Balpa says fails to adequately reward BA pilots for their contribution to the airline’s £2 billion profits. Talks between the two parties ground to a halt last week, despite the intervention of government conciliation service Acas.
Earlier this year, Balpa, Unite and the GMB unions lodged a joint pay claim after BA owner IAG announced record profits of some €3 billion. Unite and the GMB unions have since recommended BA’s pay deal to members after considering strike action.
A British Airways spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed with today’s decision. We will continue to pursue every avenue to protect the holidays of thousands of our customers this summer.
“Our proposed pay offer of 11.5% over three years is fair, and in contrast to Balpa, the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90% of all British Airways colleagues, have already recommended the same pay offer to their members.
“We remain open to working with Balpa to reach an agreement, which we have been doing since December, and we urge Balpa to return to talks as soon as possible.”