British Airways pilots have confirmed they will go on strike in September, causing travel chaos for thousands of holidaymakers. Union British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) confirmed the planned industrial action on Friday, following weeks of negotiations with the airline. The pilots are set to strike on September 9, 10 and 27.
More dates could be announced if they cannot come to an agreement with airline bosses, said the union. BALPA estimates that just one day of strike action will cost the airline £40 million. In the 100 years, the airline has been operating this is the first time its pilots will go on strike, said the union. ‘They do so as a last resort and with enormous frustration at the way the business is now being run,’ read a statement. British Airways said ‘it is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers’.
The ballot for the strike began last month following a stall in negotiations over wages before BALPA said it was still in talks with the airline on August 2. However, talks have broken down and led pilots to schedule the strikes.
In a statement, 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 percent 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’. The union said the ballot remains open until January and ‘more dates may be announced until such time as this matter is resolved.’ BALPA’s statement continued: ‘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 £2 billion. 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’.
British Airways said: ‘Our proposed deal of 11.5% 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 9.
By: Temitop Adeniran/Nigeria/internewsnetwork.com