September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
On the fourth day of the trail Balpa has ended its High Court attempt to find out whether its pilots at British Airways (BA) have a right to strike regarding the carrier”s outsourcing of jobs for its new OpenSkies subsidiary ” for which tickets went on sale today.
Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: "After three days in court it became apparent that win, lose or draw we could still face appeal after appeal. Balpa has built financial reserves to take action like this, but we will do so wisely. That is why we have decided to withdraw our request to the court."
Instead the union will embark on an EU wide campaign to have European law changed so that "there is no longer any doubt that Article 43, which essentially deals with businesses in competition, in no way undermines the right of workers" who want to strike, said McAuslan.
"We shall be pressing for a review of this law which has prevented British trade union members from protecting their careers. The right to strike has to be declared the overriding right, and Balpa wants others to join us to restore balance and fairness in industrial relations."
A BA statement said: ”We welcome the withdrawal of proceedings by Balpa, which represents acknowledgement by the union that the creation of our subsidiary, OpenSkies, poses no threat to the jobs, pay or conditions of mainline British Airways pilots.
”The union accepted in court that its ballot in support of industrial action was time-expired and gave an undertaking not to pursue any future ballot on the same issue.”
Balpa was convinced that the outsourcing of pilots” jobs to start up the new airline would pave the way for worse pay and conditions for BA pilots, but the flag carrier reiterated today (22 May) that it has ”offered guarantees that OpenSkies would not be used to worsen the terms and conditions of BA mainline pilots. These guarantees remain in place.”
Talks between the two sides regarding these issues broke down in March, but Balpa did not call a strike ” despite an 86% ”Yes” vote by members in favour of action - after BA threatened to apply for damages, asserting it had a right under the EC Treaty to start operating from another EU Member State.
OpenSkies is scheduled to start services on 19 June.