Unite loses High Court battle against new BA rules

Cabin crew trade union Unite has lost its High Court action against changes to working practices brought in by British Airways in November.

Unite has said the decision, which it described as “regrettable”, did not alter the complaints it had against BA relating to long-haul staff rosters, a pay freeze and changed terms for new recruits.

The airline is set to record multi-million pound losses this year and announced pre-tax losses in the nine months to December had risen to £342 million.

In a statement BA said it was pleased with the ruling by Mr Justice Sir Christopher Holland who said the judgement took account of the carrier’s financial plight.

He described the measures the airline is taking to cut costs as “less than extreme” and said he could not condemn them if they helped preserve existing jobs.

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In a statement British Airways said: “Unite’s central demand over the last three months has been that we reverse these changes, despite the severe financial impact this would have on the company at a time when we are facing a second year of record annual losses.

“Unite brought this case to court. We believe it should reflect on the court’s decision rather than impose an unnecessary strike on the travelling public.”

Unite had announced a 12-day strike over Christmas but this was ruled illegal in the High Court after staff already made redundant had voted in a ballot.

A second ballot is due to end on Monday with all indications that crew are again set to agree to strikes.

Unite has said that strikes would not be timed to coincide with the busy Easter period and would be shorter than the aborted Christmas industrial action.

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