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BA's Cabin Crew Loses Legal Battle; Strike Next Step?

February 19, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that British Airways PLC's cabin crew lost a legal battle on Friday to overturn changes to pay and working conditions at the UK airline.

In its ruling, the High Court also denied an injunction bid by staff, supported by the union Unite, against BA imposing cost-cutting plans set out in November last year that freeze cabin crew pay and reduces crew numbers on board long-haul flights from London's Heathrow Airport.

The ruling will come as a blow to Unite, which argued that the airline's plans to reduce crew levels were illegal as existing numbers were fixed by collective union agreements and that the proposals alter terms and conditions of individual cabin crew members' contracts.

BA said in a statement that it is "extremely pleased" with Friday's ruling that the changes it made to "onboard crew numbers on flights from Heathrow were reasonable, did not breach crew contracts and can remain in place."

Unite called the outcome "regrettable."

The airline said Unite demanded the plans be reversed despite the "severe financial impact" on the company of such action.

Cabin crew represented by Unite in December voted to strike to protest the changes, but BA was granted an injunction to prevent the industrial action due to procedural issues with the union's ballot. Unite has re-balloted its 12,000 cabin crew members on further possible strike action from March. The result of the ballot is expected Monday.


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