Pilots union Balpa has entered into consultation with its more than 4,000 British Airways pilot members over a range of "job protection" measures, which it is reluctantly recommending they accept.
The union said the move followed three months of negotiations with BA and parent IAG, but stressed despite its best efforts, some redundancies would be inevitable, potentially up to 270.
"That is a matter of huge regret," said Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton. Balpa’s ballot of its BA pilot members will close on 30 July, the union confirmed on Wednesday (22 July).
Measures to ease the blow on Balpa’s wider BA pilot membership will be funded through pay cuts, that will initially start at 20% before reducing to zero over time.
BA announced in April it was seeking to reduce its pilot workforce by a quarter, with chief executive Alex Cruz claiming the move would be vital to its future post-Covid-19.
In total, around 4,300 pilots will be consulted, and Balpa is recommending its members accept the proposals, describing them as "the best that can be achieved in incredibly difficult circumstances".
The package revolves around five key elements:
“It is hugely disappointing that during our extensive negotiations, British Airways would not accept the full package of mitigations we put forward which would have avoided any job losses at all, and at no cost to BA," said Strutton.
“As a result there will be some compulsory redundancies among the pilot community, and that is a matter of huge regret. We have put together the best package we can to save as many jobs as possible.”
BA parent IAG said in a short statement it welcomed the announcement from Balpa that it would ballot members on the proposed restructuring and redundancy agreement between the union and BA.
"This is in response to the Covid-19 crisis affecting the aviation industry," said IAG, which also acknowledged Balpa is recommending members accept the proposals.
A BA spokesperson added: "We know this has been an incredibly difficult time for our pilot community, and we would like to thank Balpa’s representatives for their hard work and tireless effort to engage and find solutions to save as many pilot jobs as possible."