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BA STRIKE 2019 UPDATE: British Airways loses at the Court of Appeal, pilot strikes can go ahead

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The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) has just given its verdict in BA’s appeal against the decision given by Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing on 23rd July that BALPA’s strike ballot was legal.

British Airways has lost the appeal.

BALPA is legally allowed to push ahead with a pilot strike.  However, British Airways and BALPA have agreed to meet at ACAS this afternoon and talks are due to continue until the end of the week.

This means that a strike is unlikely to be announced until Monday, which would mean – given the 14 days legal notice period – that flights are unlikely to be impacted until Monday 19th August.

British Airways vs BALPA appeal

BALPA said in a statement:

The Court of Appeal has rejected British Airways’ attempt to injunct BALPA’s proposed industrial action on a technicality. The legality of BALPA’s ballot has been affirmed.
BA’s case was already dismissed once at the High Court last week, but they insisted on wasting more time in pressing it to an appeal.
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.”
“BA need to wake up to reality. Our ballot returned 93% in favour of strike action. There is a serious issue here and BA has so far refused to help us tackle it.
“On BA’s own figures submitted to the court, even a single day of strike action will cost far more than we believe it would take to settle this dispute.
“However, BALPA wants to resolve this matter through negotiation and so we are not announcing strike dates. Instead, we have called on BA to hold further talks at ACAS and they have agreed to meet at ACAS today and for the rest of this week for one last try to resolve this dispute by negotiation.
“We have spent four days in talks at ACAS already, and BA refused to move their position one iota. But we hope they now recongise the seriousness of the situation and will work positively with us to find a way forward.
“We are not announcing strike dates today. In any event we are required by law to provide BA with 14 days’ notice of any proposed strike action.”

As a reminder, the crux of the appeal was that whilst BALPA had provided British Airways with a list of how many pilots, by managerial grade, voted for industrial action, they did not provide this information split by long-haul or short-haul fleets and that BA requires this information to mitigate the impact of the strike.

The law states:

The trade union must take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that—

i)  the lists mentioned in subsection (2A) and the figures mentioned in subsection (2B), together with an explanation of how those figures were arrived at

2A)  The lists are—

(a)  a list of the categories of employee to which the employees concerned belong, and

(b)  a list of the workplaces at which the employees concerned work.

(2B)  The figures are—

(a)  the total number of employees concerned,

(b)  the number of the employees concerned in each of the categories in the list mentioned in subsection (2A)(a), and

(c)  the number of the employees concerned who work at each workplace in the list mentioned in subsection (2A)(b).

Was it enough to list employees by rank (Captain, First Officer) as opposed to fleet?  The Court of Appeal agreed with the original judge that it was.

Given the ludicrous cost to British Airways of shutting down the airline for a few days due to a strike, I would imagine that the magic money tree will mysteriously find some reserves this afternoon.  Let’s see.

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Comments (115)

  • Js says:

    I am struggling to get a copy of the judgement from either last week or this week. does anyone know where I can get this?

  • 4hawks says:

    I imagine for maximum publicity Balpa may call the first strike for 25th August.. Happy 100th Birthday BA!

    • Kipto says:

      Any update on the strikes by security staff at Heathrow on 5th and 6th August ?

  • Stu says:

    As with Kipto, it seems to have all gone quiet with regards to 5/6 July Unite strikes. Has anyone any information? They were supposed to be voting on an improved offer with the ballot closing last Friday afternoon.

    • marcw says:

      A quick check at the Heathrow website. “Unite are currently consulting their members on our revised offer, and whilst we continue to put contingency measures in place, we can provide no further update on if this will affect passenger journeys until after the ballot results are announced by Unite, which is likely to be around 2nd August. We apologise for the uncertainty this will cause.”

  • Adam says:

    Dress Code

    Would wearing flip flops, jeans and a t shirt be frowned upon when entering a British Airways lounge or flying Club World?

    It’s summer, so want to dress casual, but don’t want to be refused entry.

    • Shoestring says:

      jeans & a T-shirt are OK, obvs looking clean & newish

      • Adam says:

        Shorts? 😉

        Never understood these dress codes. My behaviour remains the same whether I am wearing a suit, or shorts and flip flops!

        • Shoestring says:

          nothing wrong with good clean shorts

          rubbish flip flops – nah, don’t do that, it’s completely unacceptable

          • Adam says:

            Personal opinion or a BA enforced rule?

          • Shoestring says:

            enforced in places like Australia

            BA, UK – they probably don’t care if it all looks clean

          • Shoestring says:

            in many UK lounges you wouldn’t get in wearing an ‘in yer face’ T-shirt or ripped jeans

            personally, I think aggressive tattooage should mean no room at the lounge/ inn, nothing wrong with a small heart hidden under your bikini bottom I suppose but I certainly would never have employed anybody showing tattoos on visible office skin (at interview)

          • Shoestring says:

            unless they were a Maori

          • Nick says:

            Only a total and utter idiot would ever get on an aircraft in flip flops (or any other non-sensible shoes). The biggest injuries in the Vegas incident (when people had to run out of a burning plane) were burnt feet because the tarmac was 40 degrees.
            It doesn’t happen often, but a second’s thought as to how you’d survive a major event might very well save your life one day.

          • Shoestring says:

            I’m not surprised the Aussies – who are obvs some of the world’s best arbiters of good taste – is that right? – have banned flip flops, or as they call them, g-slips I think.

            Even they can see that flip flops are ‘non-pareils’, not allowed, completely unacceptable in a lounge as I say in plain English.

          • Bagoly says:

            You have already fallen foul of the JRM banned words list!

          • RussellH says:

            English ‘Flip-Flops’ = Aussie ‘Thongs’ = enormous potential for embarassment.

            I used to have a small scrapbook of adverts from newspapers from during my time in the USA, all depicting people making V-signs (NOT the Churchillian version) at the reader.
            Also a number of headlines from the sports pages of New York City papers, reporting on a local team usually known as the ‘Nicks’ or ‘Knicks’ – often along the lines of 50 Thousand watch Knicks fall.
            Conjures up all sorts of images.

    • Andrew says:

      When you see how bad the BA business lounge is, you’ll wonder why you dressed up – imagine McDonalds only none of the tables have been cleared and the food isn’t as good.

    • Graeme says:

      I’ve done it and not felt any issues.

    • Gringo says:

      I was in the LHR GC lounge and flew CW this week in shorts, shirt & sandals, no issues at all

    • Stoneman says:

      You can dress casually without looking akin to someone laying about on the poolside.

  • Invicta says:

    Does anyone know how this may affect Iberia schedules? Is there any chance BA pulls in Iberia pilots and reduces service on Iberia or are the pilots under separate entities and not trained on BA planes? Hopefully BA resolves the strike beforehand anyway!!

    • marcw says:

      Iberia is a completely different company to BA. They may however, substitute BA services between MAD and LHR, our arrange bigger planes on their rotations.

      But IB pilots are not affected at all by this.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        If a strike goes ahead and I am “impacted” as I believe modern parlance has it, I’m on a BA flight using Avios but booked via Iberia. In which case I guess I’m best off asking IB to re route me rather than waiting on BA?

        • Shoestring says:

          operating airline is always responsible


          • Yorkieflyer says:

            Yup, I know that but IB likely have more options on my route on IB metal via BCN or MAD and I might have a slight possibility of getting through to IB on the phone I’d have thought? I suspect BA will simply automatically rebook on their metal days later…

          • Shoestring says:

            I guess you got 2 guns slung around the hips and you can choose both

          • Marcw says:

            Not if cancellation is announced with time. Only when cancellation is within 24 h of departure then it’s the operating airline you hsve to deal with. But otherwise, Always contact your ticketing airline or agent.

        • Marcw says:

          Yes, you have to deal with the ticketing airlines or agent. If you booked via IB then you need to contact them for rerouting. Operating airline is ONLY in charge when ticket is under airport control, usually 24 h before scheduled flight departure.

  • Steven says:

    Our family is flying on BA for our summer hols. Outbound flight date is now safe – return date could be affected by a strike. I’ve been trying to get BA to tell me whether if a strike is announced that would affect the return date, whether they would still honour my outbound ticket. So far they seem unable to answer. Anyone got any ideas of what would happen?

    • Shoestring says:

      This is a joke, right? Nobody could be that stupid.

      • Steven says:

        OK, maybe I’m stupid, but BA are proving unable to answer this question at the moment.

        • Shoestring says:

          If you’re for real and BJ isn’t trying to trick me, then your safe outbound flight is definitely safe and you can fly out, BA are highly unlikely to cancel outbound flights because they think the return flight might be affected by the strike.

          • BJ says:

            And here was me sitting at home minding my own business researching SUV and wondering why my ears were burning 🙂

          • MD says:

            Lol. I think Harry has been in the gin this evening.

          • toomanylogins says:

            In this case (outbound flight is fine, but return is cancelled due to strike) what is BA’s responsibility to you to get you home? Eg , if I can fly to France, but can’t fly home is it reasonable to expect BA to cover the costs of trains back to the UK?

          • Shoestring says:

            under EC261, BA must get you home in a timely way – that is pretty tricky when virtually all planes in August are going to be booked out (or close)

            so by train sounds like a reasonable option

            you’d have to talk to them and find out what the alternatives are, then weigh up the reasonableness of the various options open to you

            eg if BA said the earliest they could get you home was in 4 days’ time – but there was a train next day – you could (possibly) force the issue by buying yourself train tickets and claiming it back from BA later, if necessary taking it to MCOL

            guiding principles: talk to BA, document everything, be reasonable, keep receipts, be aware of your duty of care entitlement, be aware of your other EC261 rights

          • Shoestring says:

            and don’t forget Section 75 protection if you paid by credit card (not charge card) – this protection is absolutely excellent as a form of travel insurance if your flight gets cancelled

          • toomanylogins says:

            Thanks Shoestring – that’s really useful information.

            My flights were avios reward saver bookings with the fees paid on my BAPP – does that count as a credit card payment for these flights?

          • Shoestring says:

            it should do as the BAPP is a credit card

            there is a £100 minimum rule applied to total purchase value, however, only £1 needs to be paid on the credit card for the credit card co to have to accept S75 responsibility

            your total purchase will be well over £100, despite having paid for much of it on points – just look at the cash equivalent cost of buying the same tickets (at the same time).

            it is your basket of tickets total paid in the 1 transaction that counts as over £100, so individual tickets could be (say) £60 but as long as you paid in 1 transaction, you’re covered by S75

  • uk1 says:

    Hi …. on a different topic ….. looking for some help. When I try to book 2 Club LHR>VIE returns the cash element is £2. If I use an Amex 241 the miles halve but the cash goes up to £100. Any ideas why?


  • uk1 says:

    …… when using miles instead of cash for seat reservations … are they refunded if the booking is cancelled or is it lost ie the same as cash. Thanks.