British Airways pilots have voted to accept a package of measures to mitigate against compulsory redundancies at the airline.
BA had proposed make up to 1,255 of its 4,300 pilots based at London Gatwick and Heathrow redundant with a threat in the formal Section 188 notice to “fire and rehire” pilots if an agreement could not be met.
Following negotiations between BA and its pilot union BALPA, a number of measures have been agreed to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies. However, it is expected there will be around 270 compulsory redundancies.
These have been accepted by BA pilots in a ballot by BALPA which closed today, Friday 31 July. The vote was 85% in favour based on an 87% turnout.
These measures include:
– Voluntary part time working, voluntary redundancy and voluntary secondments.
– A holding pool of the equivalent of 300 pilots who will continue to be employed on reduced pay and will resume flying as demand returns.
– These measures are funded by cuts to pilot pay which start at 20% and then reduce to 8% over the next two years. These cuts will further reduce towards zero over the longer term.
Whilst this situation is not what anyone would have wanted to see, it does seem like a reasonably pragmatic deal which softens the blow to BA pilots at risk of redundancy whilst giving BA some immediate relief to its staff costs.
It goes without saying that it hoped that compulsory redundancies will be minimised and those pilots not currently flying will be able to return to the skies very soon.
In terms of other BA workgroups, IAG confirmed this morning that up to 1,400 BA employees have left the company by way of voluntary redundancy.
Whilst BA and Unite remain some distance apart on negotiations to merge its three Heathrow cabin crew fleets into one, there has at least been movement by both sides and negotiations are underway.
BALPA issued the following statement on Friday evening:
Pilots in British Airways have voted to accept the deal negotiated by BALPA in response to BA’s formal notification of 1255 pilot job losses and their threat to fire and rehire the remaining pilots on worse conditions. The deal means that there will be temporary 20% pay cuts reducing to 8% over two years and towards zero over the longer term. Regrettably, there will still be some compulsory redundancies which are currently estimated to be 270 although that number will fall as mitigations take effect. There will be no fire and rehire of pilots.
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said “Our members have made a pragmatic decision in the circumstances but the fact that we were unable to persuade BA to avoid all compulsory redundancies is bitterly disappointing.”
The ballot result was 85% to accept the deal on an 87% turnout. British Airways employs 4300 pilots.