Court Blocks British Airways Strike. Union: “No Effective Right to Strike in Today’s Britain”

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For the second time in a prolonged labor-management spat, British Airways won a last-second legal injunction that effectively banned its cabin crews from launching a 20-day strike. Come Tuesday, the planes will keep flying.

The temporary injunction was handed down by the U.K. High Court, citing the fact that Unite – the union representing cabin crews – failed to fully inform its voting members of results following a ballot initiative in February. In a statement, Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber expressed dismay: “A strike that clearly has majority support has been turned over on a tiny technicality.” Going even further, Barber railed against the state of labor relations in Britain: “This — and other recent decisions — begin to make it look as if there is no effective right to strike in today’s Britain.”

Unite, prohibited from appealing the High Court ruling in the hours leading up to the supposed strike, said it would immediately go to the Court of Appeal in a bid to get a hearing as soon as possible. But for now, the strike – which was poised to cause major hassles for travelers enjoying Britain’s half-term school holiday period, as well as the World Cup in South Africa – has been grounded.

Tempers, though, on both sides of the picket lines are still flying high.