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Cabin crew dispute back in court

The long-running British Airways cabin crew dispute is set to return to the courts with fresh legal action by the trade union involved in the bitter stand-off with the carrier.

Unite said it will lodge an appeal at the High Court this week over the withdrawal of travel concessions from almost 7,000 of its members who went on strike earlier this year.

The cabin crew took 22 days of strike action in the first few months of the year, which disrupted flights and cost BA more than £150 million.

The original cause of the dispute was cost-cutting plans, including a reduction in the number of on-board crew, but it escalated after BA withdrew travel concessions from those who went on strike and took disciplinary action against dozens of Unite members.

The union said it also expected to lodge an appeal in the European Court of Human Rights by the end of the month, challenging the Government to "put its house in order" over balloting for industrial action.

Unite has faced legal action by BA over previous industrial action ballots, complaining that it faced an injunction because fewer than a dozen ballot papers were spoilt out of thousands of members who voted to go on strike.

In a third legal move, Unite said it will take a case to the Court of Appeal on October 11 and 12 to claim that BA's reduction of crew levels was a breach of contract.

BA reduced crew numbers on long-haul flights from last November after the High Court in London refused an application from Unite for an injunction against the changes.

A Unite spokesman said: "Sadly, one year on this dispute remains unresolved. We are being forced to defend our members and their rights to just treatment in the courtroom because BA refuses to play fairly at the negotiating table."

A BA spokesman said: "The High Court ruling in February found that the modest changes we made to onboard crew numbers on flights from Heathrow were reasonable, did not breach crew contracts and could therefore remain in place. We will defend our position vigorously."


From Belfast Telegraph