EU law overturns democratic decision of BA pilots

They voted overwhelmingly for strike action, but the democratic decision of workers to take industrial action count for nothing under EU law, it seems:

The British Airline Pilots’ Association has withdrawn from its High Court action. BALPA was asking the Court to rule on whether Article 43 of the Treaty of Rome could be used by British Airways to stop its pilots going on strike.

BALPA, whose pilots in British Airways voted overwhelmingly for strike action in February against BA because it plans to outsource BA pilot jobs, went to the High Court to gain clarification.

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of BALPA 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.

However we shall now be embarking 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 to take strike action.

‘We shall be pressing for a review of this law which has prevented British trade union members from protecting their careers. We shall be calling on MPs, MEPs and the International Labour Organisation to work with us to secure a better balance in this increasingly important international area of business. 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.

As The News Line detailed at the time:

In a ballot with a 90% turnout in February, BALPA’s 3,000 members voted 86% in favour of strike action against BA’s wage cutting plans.

But at the beginning of March, BA took out a legal injunction against BALPA, claiming strike action would breach the Treaty of Rome which allows companies in the EU freedom to establish business anywhere.


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