New govt intervenes in BA dispute

British Airways has been beset by industrial disputes
British Airways has been beset by industrial disputes

By staff

The new government is intending to intervene in the dispute between British Airways and its airline staff.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond will meet both sides of the dispute on Monday, and negotiation facilitators Acas understand both sides are interested in more talks.

But that has not stopped BA seeking an injunction in the high court, just 24 hours before the first of the four five hour strikes is set to begin.

"The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 requires unions to send everyone eligible to vote details of the exact breakdown of the ballot result," the letter to the high court reads.

"We do not believe Unite properly complied with this requirement. We wrote to the general secretaries of the union yesterday [Thursday], asking them to explain to us how they discharged this obligation and, based on Unite's replies, we believe that they failed to comply with the legal requirement."

Unions can expect the Conservatives to take a tougher approach to the dispute than their Labour predecessors, most of whom are influenced by the party's origins in the union movement and the current close-links, both financial and political, between Labour and the unions.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hammond already started taking a tough line on the strike.

"My call to both the unions and the management today is for people to get back to work," he said.

"Let's cancel this strike, let's sit down around the table and hammer out a solution in the interests of passengers, in the interests of the UK economy... and if I may say so, in the long-term interests of the workers involved in this dispute."

The first strike is set to begin on May 18th.


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