British Airways pilots vote to strike over pay

Pilots voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, which could cause chaos for holidaymakers

BA, British Airways, Rollout, Roll Out Paint, A380. Courtesy British Airways *** Local Caption ***  bz28de-LIFEexectravel.jpg
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British Airways pilots have voted to take strike action in a dispute over pay that could affect passengers jetting off for their summer holidays.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said no dates were available yet for the strike action.

British Airways (BA) will try to block the strike by seeking an injunction against BALPA in the high court on Tuesday.

“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,” BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said.

“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.”

BA pilots voted overwhelming for the strike, with 93 per cent voting in favour in a 90 per cent turnout.

BALPA represents around 85 per cent of BA pilots, meaning seven out of 10 of the airline’s pilots have agreed to strike.

The industrial action, if it goes ahead, would have to begin after August 6 because the union is required to give at least two weeks’ notice.

BA pilots rejected an offer of a pay rise worth 11.5 per cent over three years, arguing the airline’s profits meant they deserved a bigger increase.

A spokesperson for BA said: “We are very disappointed that Balpa, the pilots’ union, 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 per cent over three years is fair, and by contrast to BALPA, the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent 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.”