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Travel industry news

22 Jul 2019

BY James Chapple

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British Airways pilots vote in favour of strike action

Hundreds of British Airways pilots have voted in favour of strike action over a new pay deal.

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British Airways pilots vote in favour of strike action

Pilots union Balpa balloted members on walkouts, with 93% voting in favour of striking on a 90% turnout.


Balpa could theoretically now call strikes in early August after the poll closed on Monday (22 July).


However, the union has stressed it doesn’t yet have any dates set and has promised updates “in due course”.


It is understood BA intends to seek an injunction halting Balpa’s efforts on Tuesday (23 July).


Union officials and BA are at loggerheads over a new pay deal, which Balpa says fails to adequately reward BA pilots for their contribution to the airline’s £2 billion profits.


Talks between the two parties ground to a halt last week, despite the intervention of government conciliation service Acas.


Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots, and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted.


“Sadly, three days of Acas talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.


“We do not wish to inconvenience our customers, which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November. It is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”


Balpa claims the cost of a single day’s strike action by pilots would be more costly than BA settling the dispute in full.


The union added in a statement: “We currently do not have dates for any potential strike action and will issue an update on this in due course.


“We remain hopeful that this dispute can be resolved before strike action, but we remain committed to action if necessary.”

 

Earlier this year, Balpa, Unite and the GMB unions lodged a joint pay claim after BA owner IAG announced record profits of some €3 billion. Unite and the GMB unions have since recommended BA’s pay deal to members after considering strike action.


A BA spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed Balpa has chosen to threaten the travel plans of thousands of our customers over the summer holidays with possible strike action. We remain open to working with Balpa to reach an agreement, which we have been doing since December.


“Our proposed pay offer of 11.5% over three years is fair, and by contrast to Balpa, the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90% of all British Airways colleagues, have already recommended the same pay offer to their members.


“We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers’ travel plans and avoid industrial action and we urge Balpa to return to talks as soon as possible.”

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