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Airline ‘is obliged’ to negotiate with union over pilot rostering

An airline has been told that it is obliged to negotiate with trade union representatives about rostering arrangements for its pilots.

Jet2 had accepted that under employment law, it had to recognise the British Airline Pilots Association for the purposes of collective bargaining about the core issues of "pay, hours and holidays". However, it claimed rostering was part of its 'Scheduling Framework' and was outside of these core issues.

The High Court found in favour of Jet2.

However, the Court of Appeal has now overturned that decision. It held that there was nothing in the phrase "negotiations relating to pay, hours and holidays" to suggest that it covered only proposals that would give rise to individual contract rights.

Jet2's arguments about the proposed threat to operational flexibility confused the subject-matter of the negotiations with their outcome. To say that the airline was obliged to negotiate with the union about rostering arrangements was not to say that it was obliged to agree to any such arrangements if it regarded them as damaging to its business.

It was open to the airline to decline to agree to any elements in the framework that it regarded as objectionable.

The rostering proposals contained in the Scheduling Framework related to "pay, hours and holidays" and therefore properly formed the subject of collective bargaining.

If you require advice regarding dismissing an employee please contact us. For more information about our employment law services please visit Employment Law Advice.


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