British Airways has won the latest round in its ongoing battle with Unite, after the High Court rejected the trade union’s appeal against the airline’s decision to reduce the number of cabin crew staff on flights.
BA made the change in November of last year, a move that was upheld in the High Court in February following a legal challenge by Unite.
Unite subsequently to the case to the British court of appeal, which has now also ruled in BA’s favour.
Following the decision BA issued a statement welcoming the ruling: “We are pleased with today’s Court of Appeal judgment, confirming that the modest changes we made to onboard crew numbers on flights from Heathrow 12 months ago were reasonable, did not breach crew contracts and can remain in place.”
It added that the changes had made what it called a “substantial contribution” toward easing the company’s financial position.
British Airways returned to profitability for the first time in two years during the first half of the financial year.
Unite is presently balloting cabin crew staff on a new BA offer to end strike action.
However, there is now an end in sight in the long running dispute, with union representatives telling British Airways cabin crew a peace offer from the airline is “probably the best” deal available.
Further industrial action is the only option if it is rejected.
Unite’s largest cabin crew branch, the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (Bassa), said in an email to members that the only alternative to the deal was strike action.
“This is probably the best that negotiation could produce at the current time,” read the email.
“The only other alternative would then be taking industrial action, the outcome of which of course is always unknown.”
However, there are similarities do an offered made by BA in July, the union warns.
“Many members could not understand why it has not already been rejected by your reps.
“The answer is simple: rejection is for you alone to decide,” said Bassa.
About 10,000 crew affiliated with Unite are preparing to vote on the offer.
The BA offer sets out a framework for restoring staff travel to the estimated 6,700 crew who took part in 22 days of strike action this year, as well as allowing the Acas conciliation service to mediate disciplinary cases.