British Airways strike is off for now — so what does that mean?

baLooks as if the dreaded British Airways strike won’t be happening — at least not any time soon. The airline this morning won a High Court injunction to prevent a series of Christmas strikes by thousands of its cabin crew.

British Airways had sought the injunction yesterday, challenging the union’s ballot of its 12,500 cabin crew members. BA claimed some workers who had left the company took part in the voting.

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A lawyer for the airline told the court the union, Unite, had no regard for its passengers.

With what appears to be withering contempt for the interests and concerns of over one million passengers and those whom they wish to visit over Christmas, Unite has induced strike action over the most important two weeks of the year for the traveling public.

A British Airways spokesman told the Times Online it was “delighted for our customers that the threat of Christmas strike has been lifted by the court.”

Unite was understandably disappointed by the ruling. Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, Unite’s joint general secretaries, issued the following statement:

While we have never wanted this dispute it is a disgraceful day for democracy when a court can overrule such an overwhelming decision by employees taken in a secret ballot.

What does that mean to you if you are traveling on British Airways? If you haven’t changed your tickets yet, you’re in the clear (as one travel agent told me over the phone, “It’s over!”). If you have changed your tickets, my advice would be to leave everything as is.

This by no means guarantees your flight will leave as scheduled, though. With 9 out of 10 crewmembers reportedly voting to strike, there are going to be some very unhappy employees working on your flight. If they work at all. There’s always the possibility that “sick-outs” (employees calling in “sick” at the same time, effectively grounding selected flights) could wreak havoc on holiday travel plans.

We are by no means out of the woods on this.

The bigger question is: Will BA’s union strike again? Yes, they’ll probably try. So you might consider booking away from BA for now — just to be safe.

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