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British Airways has failed in its attempt to block strike action by its pilots, meaning they are free to start industrial action from next month.

A Court of Appeal this morning rejected an appeal by the airline for an injunction to stop its pilots from walking out in a disagreement over pay.

Earlier this month, the pilots - all members of BALPA - voted 93% in favour of industrial action in a strike ballot that attracted a 90% turnout.

BALPA has not yet set any strike dates, saying instead that it intends to return to the negotiating table with BA. It is obliged to give BA two weeks' notice of any industrial action.

In an earlier statement, BA said it considered its offer to pilots of an 11.5% pay rise over three years to be 'fair'. It claimed other unions Unite and GMB, which represent nearly 90% of BA staff, had already recommended a similar offer to their members.

And many holidaymakers have taken to Twitter to accuse the pilots of greed and 'shameless' tactics for threatening to spoil families summer holidays by going on strike during the school summer holidays.

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said:"BA's attempt to defeat the democratic view of their pilots in court, rather than deal with us across the negotiating table, has sadly wasted huge amounts of time and money that could have been put into finding a peaceful resolution. Now the window for negotiation and compromise is closing fast."

"BA need to wake up to reality. Our ballot returned 93% in favour of strike action. There is a serious issue here and BA has so far refused to help us tackle it.

"On BA's own figures submitted to the court, even a single day of strike action will cost far more than we believe it would take to settle this dispute.

"However, BALPA wants to resolve this matter through negotiation and so we are not announcing strike dates. Instead, we have called on BA to hold further talks at ACAS and they have agreed to meet at ACAS today and for the rest of this week for one last try to resolve this dispute by negotiation.

"We have spent four days in talks at ACAS already, and BA refused to move their position one iota. But we hope they now recongise the seriousness of the situation and will work positively with us to find a way forward.

Source: Travelmole