British Airways loses appeal over pilot strike

British Airways plane Image copyright NurPhoto

British Airways has lost an appeal aimed at halting planned strike action by its pilots.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) voted in favour of industrial action on 22 July, after three days of negotiations failed to resolve the dispute.

BA sought an injunction to prevent the strike in High Court, but it was overturned.

The airline then appealed and the Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday.

This opens the way for the pilots to name dates for a potential strike, which would likely fall in August – one of the busiest months for holidays.

However, Balpa has not announced any strike dates today. The union says it is required by law to provide BA with 14 days’ notice of any proposed strike action.

Balpa teamed up with other unions Unite and GMB to submit a joint pay claim in November, after seeing British Airways owner IAG forecast rising profits for 2018.

Pilots rejected a pay increase worth 11.5% over three years, which BA said was “fair and generous”.

However, Balpa argued that its members deserve a better offer, as BA has been making healthy profits.

After the latest court ruling Balpa General Secretary Brian Strutton, said: “The Court of Appeal has today rightly dismissed BA’s attempt to injunct this industrial action on a technicality.

“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.”

In 2018, IAG reported a pre-tax profit of €3bn (£2.8bn), up almost 9.8% on the previous year, and declared a special dividend of €700m.

British Airways contributed £1.96bn to that, up 8.7% from 2017’s figures.

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