UK

British Airways wins court injunction to stop cabin crew Christmas strike

British Airways has won a High Court injunction to stop a 12-day strike planned by cabin crew over the busy holiday season, due to irregularities in the trade union's ballot.

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AFP - British Airways won a High Court battle on Thursday for an injunction to stop cabin crew staging a 12-day walkout over the busy Christmas and New Year festive break.

Judge Laura Cox granted the order to BA, which had argued that trade union Unite's ballot of staff was invalid because it contained irregularities and included workers that accepted voluntary redundancy.

BA cabin crew had voted overwhelmingly on Monday to strike over job cuts, conditions and pay between December 22 and January 2 in a mass walkout that media have billed as "The Twelve Days of Christmas Strikes".

The industrial action had threatened the holiday plans of up to one million people that were planning to visit friends and family.

British Airways reacted with delight to news of its court victory over trade union Unite.

"We are delighted for our customers that the threat of a Christmas strike has been lifted by the court," BA said in a statement.

"It is a decision that will be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of families in the UK and around the world.

"There was never any need for a strike and we hope that Unite will take this opportunity to reflect before deciding its next steps. We believe the public would want that too."

Unite, Britain's biggest union, was protesting at BA's imposed contractual changes that include fewer cabin crew onboard flights, a pay freeze and different working conditions for new members of staff.

The union reacted with deep disappointment to the ruling.

"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," said Unite joint general secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, in a statement.

Aviation analysts estimated the strike could have cost BA between 10 million and 30 million pounds (11-33 million euros, 16-49 million dollars) per day.

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