Cruise Travel Plans Are Safe! British Airways Strike Called Off

December 17, 2009
(1:40 p.m. EST) -- A ruling by Britain's High Court has declared illegal the proposed 12-day Christmas strike announced by British Airways' cabin crew this week.

British Airways has been granted an injunction, meaning the industrial action cannot go ahead as planned. According to statements on the airline's Web site, Unite, the cabin crew's union, lost the fight on a technicality; it had balloted a number of members who were actually leaving British Airways on whether to strike.

Although more than a million holidaymakers, including passengers trying to reach ships for Christmas cruises, are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief, this doesn't mean the trouble is over. Unite joint general secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said today in a press statement: "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.

"We will of course be studying the judgment, but the fact remains that this dispute is not settled. Passing the buck to the courts to do management's job for them was never going to be the answer.

"BA must accept that there can be no resolution except through negotiation, failing which there will inevitably be a further ballot for industrial action."

A statement on the British Airways Web site says: "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."

The bad news, if you can call it that, is that anybody who has bought a flight on another airline will now not receive a refund from British Airways, as no flights are scheduled to be cancelled at this time.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor