16/12/2009 - BA strike action put on hold

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BRITISH AIRWAYS has won a High Court injunction blocking a 12-day Christmas walkout.  Therefore, the strike action planned by cabin crew has been put on hold until the New Year.

BA won its legal challenge against the trade union Unite after Mrs. Justice Cox ruled that union leaders had breached rules in organising a ballot for the strike.  Willie Walsh of BA

As far as most workers were aware, Unite had done everything by the book.  Around 13,000 Unite members were eligible to vote.  Of these, over 10,000 voted in the ballot to determine the possibility of strike action.  This represented an 80% turn out.  And a stunning 90% endorsed the strike.  Thus support for the strike was overwhelming – it was rock solid. 

However, BA management had discovered that about 900 had been allowed to vote who should not have been.  Thus Unite had broken the law by including members of staff that no longer worked for the airline.

For now the industrial action is off. 

However, this may turn out to be a hollow victory for BA.  The background to the strike runs deep – it includes disputes over job cuts, pay cuts, the ripping up of working agreements and Chief Executive Willie Walsh’s Macho-style of management.

The anger of the cabin crew will not disappear overnight.  They have been pushed to the limit - and beyond.  The High Court ruling has probably only delayed the strike to the New Year.