Injunction against BA strikes is a democratic disgrace
And, hot on the heels of the last post, we have proof that class defiantly still does matter in the decision of the High Court to block the proposed action of BA Cabin Crew. I am going to use The Times for my quotes for this piece because it can hardly be said to be a paper that would be naturally sympathetic to the strikers aims. However, according to the reporting of this paper it can be seen that there are clear grounds for the decision being branded a ‘disgrace’ in democratic terms.
According to The Times the action was backed by a majority of “nine-to-one”; a quick excursion into the realm of maths tells us that of the 13,000 cabin crew balloted 11,700 voted for the action. Furthermore, it reports that the grounds for the denial is the acceptance of some 800 ballots from crew who had already accepted voluntary redundancy. So, if they are subtracted then that produces a vote for action of 10,900; 800 invalid ballots and 1,300 against. Democracy therefore does demand the action be allowed to go ahead.
However, the judge presiding felt otherwise;
Mrs Justice Cox said it seemed clear from the evidence that the union was aware, or certainly should have been, that the ballot of 13,000 cabin crew included a substantial number of those who were shortly due to leave, but she added that there was no evidence to suggest that there was a clear decision to include them.
However, it is clear from other parts of the report that the judge ruled on far more than the law requires her too;
Mrs Justice Laura Cox said that a 12-day strike over the busy Christmas period would have caused more damage to both BA and the public than at any other time of the year.
There was “insufficient evidence” to support the allegation of intransigence on the part of BA, adding that she did not consider it right to describe the breaches in the case as technical.
In other words it is made quite clear in these passages that she was influenced in her judgement by her own subjective view not of the law but which party to the industrial dispute she felt had the most valid case. So, in short the law moves from being a neutral player in industrial relations to its arbiter and that is quite wrong though not unexpected to the cynical.
Nobody should doubt whose side The Times is on. It offers this unsubstantiated caveat to the facts its forced to report as is;
Cabin crew have privately admitted that they had not anticipated the severity and length of the industrial action when they voted in favour of strikes on Monday this week.
Given the above it is hard not to see Derek Simpson’s point when he accuses the High Court of representing BA’s interests. Current legislation is not neutral in these matters and does not place the law above industrial relations; if it did then the strike would be going ahead. Legislation that is supposed to be ‘balanced’ is fundamentally unbalanced and must be changed so democracy is not the victim of such a fundamentally unjust though possibly technically ‘correct’ ruling like this again.