By Ray Fleming

WHEN the strike of cabin crew against British Airways' economy measures came into the news in mid-March I commented here that “many of the reactions to the strike are worrying in their implied rejection of workers' right to strike.” Since then BA has twice won legal injunctions against the Unite union, which represents the cabin crew concerned, for its failure to observe every last dot and comma of Section 231 of the 1992 Trades Union and Labour Relations Act when holding ballots of its members. A third injunction prohibiting the strike due to start next week was granted to BA on Monday but reversed on appeal yesterday by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge. BA's latest legal quibble was over the failure of Unite to tell each of its ten thousand members who had voted strongly in favour of striking how many spoiled ballots had been returned. The number was 11 and this information was posted on a web site, in a newsletter and on notice boards at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

The triviality of BA's case against Unite's legal strike shows the extreme lengths to which BA's boss Willie Walsh is prepared to go to defeat the union. Yet the issues at stake at the start of the dispute have almost all been settled. What remains is Mr Walsh's arbitrary suspension of 50 trade unionists and withdrawal of concessionary travel for cabin staff. He should yield before more unnecessary harm is done to the airline.