Pilots have won a legal appeal against Jet2.com over the interpretation of working hours and trade union rights.

The original case was heard in March 2015 in the High Court and won by the Leeds-based airline.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association has now successfully appealed this decision following a hearing in November at the Court of Appeal.

The key issue at stake was whether rostering and scheduling of pilots fell within the scope of ‘pay, hours and holidays’ on which Balpa is able to negotiate with the employer.

Jet2’s position was a very narrow definition of ‘pay, hours and holidays’.

“If their definition had been accepted, we believe it would have had a very negative effect on trade unions’ right to negotiate for their members,” Balpa said.

“Therefore, today’s verdict is an important one for pilots in Jet2 and pilots across the industry, as well as for trade unions generally.”

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Jet2’s position that rostering should not be considered under the definition of ‘pay, hours and holidays’ was disappointing and we are delighted that the Court of Appeal agreed with our legal argument in their judgment today.

“What was also disappointing was that this had to be resolved in a court of law.

“We would like to have a good professional relationship with Jet2, as we do with most of our other airlines, so we can resolve any differences amicably before they get to this stage. We believe that would be in the interests of Jet2 and Balpa members.

“But this case proves that where it is necessary Balpa will robustly defend our right and duty to stand up for pilots and their interests.

“I am hopeful that we can now put this matter behind us and that Balpa and Jet2 can get around the table to negotiate important issues to our members in that airline, ensure the company is a first-rate employer and one of the country’s first choices for pilot careers.”

Jet2 said: “In 2015 the High Court found in favour of Jet2.com in relation to its collective bargaining with the union.

“The Court of Appeal have now clarified the union’s remit in collective bargaining, particularly in the context of airline rostering.

“Some important principles set out by the High Court were not appealed by the union.

“These, together with the Court of Appeal decision, will be helpful in setting the limits on the union’s future dealings with the company.”