British court to rule Thursday on BA union appeal bid

Judges will rule on Thursday on whether the British Airways cabin crew union, Unite, will be allowed to mount an appeal against a legal challenge that blocked a planned strike.

British court to rule Thursday on BA union appeal bid

Judges will rule on Thursday on whether the British Airways cabin crew union, Unite, will be allowed to mount an appeal against a legal challenge that blocked a planned strike.

Lawyers for the Unite union had gone to the Court of Appeal to try to overturn an injunction on the first of four proposed five-day walkouts.

Three of Britain's most senior judges, who have been hearing the union's arguments, said they would give their decision at 0830 GMT on Thursday.

BA on Monday won a legal bid to block a threatened five-day strike by cabin crew members. The first of four five-day walkouts had been due to begin at midnight, but did not go ahead as planned.

The airline's lawyers argued that Unite had broken the law on a technicality over the way it had conducted the strike ballot.

Tony Woodley, joint head of the union, said the judge's ban was an affront to democracy and branded it "an absolute disgrace".

He said BA won its injunction because the union failed to tell a small number of its 11,000 members there had been 11 spoilt ballot papers in an overwhelming vote to authorise the strikes.

"It does bring into question whether we have a right to strike in this country," he told BBC television.

A BA spokeswoman said it still hoped for an "early and peaceful end" to the dispute and that "talks (with Unite) would continue throughout the week".

Shares in BA closed little changed at 200.4 pence.

BGC Partners analyst Howard Wheeldon said there was "a feeling of relief in the market" that BA had managed to stop the latest strike and that the saga was now approaching the "end-game stages".

The dispute with cabin crew over pay and conditions has already resulted in seven days of strikes in March, which cost the airline 45 million pounds.

Earlier this week Unite said it had reached agreement in principle with BA over its plans to save 62.5 million pounds ($90 million) a year to counter falling demand, volatile fuel prices and greater competition.

However, Unite said the restoration of staff travel perks had not been agreed and this row was holding up settlement of the wider dispute. ($1=.6935 Pound)

Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Mayıs 2010, 08:29
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