British Airways (BA) pilots are set to go strike on 9-10, and 27 September 2019 which is likely to cause huge disruption to its schedules from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) gave notice on Friday (23 August) to BA that it called on its members to strike.
BALPA said: “Over several days of ACAS talks BALPA put forward a number of packages that we believe would have resolved this dispute without a strike, and which we could have recommended to our members for acceptance prior to strike action.
“BA did not accept any of these packages, and it is clear following discussions with members over the last few days that BA’s most recent offer will not gain the support of anywhere near a majority of its pilots.
“In these circumstances, with a 93% vote in favour of taking industrial action, and with no prospect of any further meaningful talks, we have no choice but to call this action.
“A day of strike action will cost BA around £40m. Three days will cost in the region of £120m. The gap between BA’s position and BALPA’s position is about £5m. Our proposal remains on the table should BA wish to reach agreement prior to strike action.
“British Airways is an extremely profitable and successful company, and pilots have been proud to play their part in that. In 2018 the company announced profits of £2bn. Over recent years BA pilots have made sacrifice after sacrifice to assist the company such as taking a pay cut, productivity increases, closing the final salary pension scheme, giving up annual leave days, a new rostering system, and reducing flying pay.
“In what is British Airways’ centenary year, this will be the very first time its pilots will go on strike. They do so as a last resort and with enormous frustration at the way the business is now being run.”
BALPA said the ballot is valid until January, and more dates may be announced until such time as this matter is resolved.
BA said it was “completely unacceptable” that BALPA is “destroying” the travel plans of tens of thousands of customers with this “unjustifiable strike action”.
The airline said it was “extremely sorry” that after many months of negotiations, based on a “very fair offer”, BALPA has decided on this “reckless course of action”.
BA added: “We are now making changes to our schedule. We will do everything we can to get as many people away on their journeys as possible. However, it is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights.”
The carrier said flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected, and it is exploring options to supplement our fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (wet-leasing) while also working with partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers
BA added: “Our proposed deal of 11.5 per cent over three years is very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation, and by contrast to BALPA, has been accepted by the members of the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew and ground staff. In addition to basic pay, pilots also receive annual pay increments and regular flying allowances.
“We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action and protect our customers’ travel plans.”