Unite appeals strike ruling

By politics.co.uk staff

The trade union Unite is appealing against a high court ruling which prevented the start of today’s 20-day British Airways strike.

In a surprising verdict which halted the strike just hours before it was due to begin, the judge said the strike was illegal due to a technical breach of the 1992 Trade Union Act in the ballot for strike action.

But Unite have a solid chance of winning the appeal today, with the judge saying the arguments were finely balanced.

Mr Justice McCombe’s ruling signified the third major injunctions against a transport strike in six months.

A BA spokesman said: “We are delighted for our customers that Unite’s plans for extreme and unjustified strike action cannot go ahead.”

Three of the UK’s most senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice, are hearing the case.

If they rule in favour of Unite, industrial action could begin again later in the month. If not, Unite will ballot its members all over again.

The injunction did not result in a hassle-free day for travellers today, however, because it came too late to alter BA’s existing limited schedule.

Joint general secretaries of Unite, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, said: “This judgment is an absolute disgrace and will rank as a landmark attack on free trade unionism and the right to take industrial action.

“Its implication is that 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.”