Unite has branded a High Court decision declaring planned British Airways cabin crew strikes illegal “an absolute disgrace” and launched an appeal.
The trade union will present its case to the Appeal Court today following a decision by Mr Justice McCombe on Monday.
Pictured: Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley addresses a rally of BA cabin crew
Cabin crew at the airline were due to walk out last night in the first of 20 days of planned strikes. However, the action was declared illegal due to a technicality in the ballot procedure.
Mr Justice McCombe ruled Unite had failed to inform members about the number of spoilt ballot papers in the last strike vote, invalidating the result.
Following the decision Unite joint general secretaries Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson said: “This judgement is an absolute disgrace and will rank alongside the Taff Vale judgement as a landmark attack on free trade unionism and the right to take industrial action.”
“Its implication is it is now all-but impossible to take legally-protected strike action against any employer who wishes to seek an injunction on even the most trivial grounds.”
While confirming Unite will comply with the injunction, the union sought to emphasise the significance of the decision in its ongoing battle with the British flag-carrier.
“Because of the far-reaching consequences of this injunction for all trade unions and indeed for our democracy, we are seeking leave to appeal immediately.
“It need hardly be said that this brings the prospect of a settlement to the dispute with British Airways not one day closer.”
If Unite is successful in its appeal strike action could take place later this month, while if it fails in its bid to have the injunction overturned a new ballot will be held.
The British government had earlier called an emergency meeting in a last-ditch effort to avert the strike.
The first strike had been scheduled to last five days, with the three further strikes planned to begin on May 24th, May 30th and June 5th.
Following the High Court decision British Airways said: “We are delighted that Unite’s plans for extreme and unjustified strike action cannot go ahead.”
The airline cancelled some flights late last night, but was seeking to return to a normal schedule across the UK today.
The latest departure information can be found here.