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Business briefing: Judge blocks bid by BA to stop summer strike action

BRITISH AIRWAYS has failed in a High Court bid to temporarily block pilots from taking strike action over pay.

The airline — which claimed the strikes could cost it up to £40million a day — called the decision ‘very disappointing’.

It came after the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) said that its members backed industrial action by more than nine to one, on a turnout of 90 per cent.

BA applied for the interim injunction yesterday to stop strike action by pilots at Heathrow and Gatwick, arguing that Balpa’s ballots did not comply with trade union law.

Following a hearing in London, Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing dismissed BA’s application, ruling Balpa was ‘more likely than not’ to establish at a full trial that its strike ballots were properly issued.

The judge gave BA permission to appeal, which could be heard on Friday or early next week. Balpa agreed not to call strike action pending the outcome of any Court of Appeal hearing.

BA’s barrister John Cavanagh QC told the court Balpa had not provided a list of the categories of employees who had been balloted, or when the strike would take place.

He said it was likely to start ‘on or about August 7’, adding that it would be ‘in peak holiday period, in the middle of school summer holidays, and at the busiest time of BA’s year’.

Balpa’s barrister Simon Cheetham QC said the level of detail BA wanted from the union amounted to ‘a disproportionate interference with the right to strike’.