British Airways Pilots Vote For Industrial Action

British Airways pilots have voted overwhelmingly to hold industrial action in a pay dispute with the airline.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5
London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

British Airways pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have voted to hold industrial action in a pay dispute with the airline.

The ballot closed today, Monday 22 July 2019. As is expected, there is a strong mandate for industrial action based on a high turnout. 93% of BA pilots have voted in favour of industrial action based on a turnout of 90%.

BALPA has not yet announced any dates for strike action.

In response to the ballot result, BALPA has issued the following statement:

BALPA’s industrial action ballot members in British Airways has now closed, with a 93% vote in favour of industrial action on a 90% turnout.
 
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 believes the cost to BA to settle dispute in full is significantly less than the cost would be of even a single day’s strike action.
 
BA’s attempt to injunct this industrial action in the High Court tomorrow [Tuesday 23rd July] means that any further negotiations are on hold while we prepare to defend our right to take this action
 
BA is making massive profits as a result of the hard work and dedication of staff, including because of sacrifices made during hard times.

Thankfully BA is no longer in a fight for survival so, like the airline’s senior managers and directors, pilots deserve a small fraction of that profit via, for instance, a profit share scheme.
 
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.

Under UK employment law, BALPA is required to give two weeks’ notice of strike action, so the earliest a strike could take place is Tuesday 6 August 2019.

BA and BALPA did hold three days of talks at the conciliation service ACAS earlier this month, but these broke down without agreement.

On the basis that BALPA represent the vast majority of BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow, any strike would result in very significant disruption. There would also be residual disruption beyond the dates of any strike, particularly to inbound flights, due to aircraft and crews being out of position.

Codeshare flights operated by partner airlines and flights operated by franchise partners SUN-AIR of Scandinavia A/S and Comair in South Africa would not be affected.

At the time of publication (16:15 BST Monday 22 July 2019) there has been no response from BA. In terms of advice to passengers, if a strike is called, in the past BA has announced contingency plans around 7 days before any strike.

The uncertainty for passengers is of course not helpful but that is why a strike mandate is a powerful negotiating tool. Pay talks can go right up to the wire and a strike can be called off right up to the last minute.

In the interim, it’s a good idea to check that you have up to date e-mail and telephone contact details for each booking you hold in the Manage By Booking tool and have the BA app installed on your smartphone.

Update: 17:35 BST Monday 22 July

In response to today’s result BA has published the following statement on its website:

We’re very disappointed that the pilot union, BALPA, has chosen to disrupt our customers’ travel plans – including the summer holidays of thousands of families and friends – with potential strike action.

We have yet to receive strike dates from BALPA, so there are no changes to our schedule at this time.

We remain open to working with BALPA to reach agreement, as we have been since December.

Our proposed pay offer of 11.5 per cent over three years is fair, and the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of British Airways staff, have already recommended this offer to their members.

We’re pursuing every avenue to find a solution to protect your travel plans and we urge BALPA to return to talks as soon as possible.

We’re very sorry for the disruption this potential strike action will cause.

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