British Airways has accused pilots union Balpa of failing to act “in good faith” after talks to avert what would be the first strike by BA pilots for 40 years broke down on Thursday (5 September).
BA says it remains open to “constructive talks” with Balpa to resolve a dispute over pay, despite Balpa tabling what the airline described as an “eleventh-hour inflated proposal” likely to amount to an additional £50 million.
On Thursday, Balpa said it was prepared to call off its strike on Monday and Tuesday (9-10 September) if BA came back to the negotiating table.
The union called on BA chief executive Alex Cruz personally to intervene in the dispute after 93% of its BA pilot members voted in July for strike action on a 90% turnout.
BA, though, has now accused Balpa of reneging on a deal agreed on 12 August and returning to negotiations “with new and unrealistic demands”.
Balpa’s confirmation of its intention to strike late last month plunged BA into chaos, forcing the airline to make alternative arrangements for thousands of passengers.
“Balpa has cynically waited until we have helped the vast majority of customers with alternative travel arrangements, and our planning for a strike has reached a critical stage,” said BA.
“Our customers need the certainty that Balpa will call off the strikes for good, not just for two days next week.”
BA has urged Balpa to return to negotiations “without pre-conditions”.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Our members’ resolve is very strong, and they remain very angry with BA, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute.
“Avoiding strike action and agreeing a deal with their pilots surely must be the desired outcome for British Airways. We urge BA to join us to discuss the new proposal – which shows pilots are willing to be flexible but still stand united in getting a better deal.”
Balpa has a further 24-hour walkout scheduled for 27 September.