The British Airways strike: BALPA’s view

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British Airways pilots have commenced strike action in a clear message to the company’s managers that they will not be fobbed off in their dispute over pay and benefits.

The pilots, whose argument is with the company’s highly paid management and not with passengers, have walked out after earlier negotiations broke down and the company’s subsequent refusal to consider alternative proposals or get back together for further constructive talks.

British Airways would clearly rather inflict this bullying tactic on its staff and see its passengers take the brunt of the strike action inconvenience than engage with its employees to find a way forward.

Pilots, who took pay cuts in the years following the financial crisis to help shore up the company, say BA’s fat cat managers have failed time and again to listen to their staff and seem determined force pilots to take the strike action.

The flag carrier is making around £2 billion profit and the cost of BALPA’s latest proposal is less than £5 million more than British Airways previously offered. Meanwhile one day of strike action costs around £40 million.

An offer by BALPA on Wednesday to hold talks was ignored by BA. Further offers to hold meetings at ACAS made on Friday were also refused by British Airways.

Instead, BA has resorted to breaking agreements and threatening pilots who will strike, which is bound to make matters worse. BA’s behaviour is illogical and irresponsible and will further deepen the fall out with their pilots.

British Airways needs to wake up and realise its pilots are determined to be heard. They’ve previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times. Now BA is making billions of pounds of profit, its pilots have made a fair, reasonable and affordable claim for pay and benefits.

BALPA has consistently offered up chances for the company to negotiate a way forward. British Airways must now put the needs of its staff and passengers first and accept that its pilots will not be bullied or fobbed off.

But the company’s leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won’t listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff.

This strike will have cost the company considerably more than the investment needed to settle this dispute. It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.

UPDATED 10 SEPTEMBER:

The two-day strike action (Monday 9th September to Tuesday 10th September 2019) has been a powerful demonstration of the strength of feeling of BA pilots. BALPA urges the airline back to the negotiating table with some meaningful proposals to try to avert the next scheduled strike on 27th September.

As the strike action draws to a close (due to end at 23.59 this evening, Tuesday 10th September), BA pilots have been virtually 100% solid in supporting the strike. BALPA calls on BA to return to negotiations with something positive to resolve this dispute and try to prevent the next strike action on 27 September. Should British Airways refuse meaningful negotiations, further strike dates will be considered by the BALPA national executive team.

Surely any reasonable employer would listen to such a clear message, stop threatening and bullying, and start working towards finding a solution.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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