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What Deal Will End the British Airways Pilots’ Strike? FlyerTalk Has A Few Theories

British Airways latest contract offer to its pilots reportedly includes a healthy eleven-and-a-half-percent pay bump, but labor leaders say the company’s last, best offer won’t be enough to close negotiations or stave off a future strike action. What will it take then, to avert the potentially crippling pilots strike members approved on Monday?

After pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike this week, the airline took the union to court arguing, in part, that its latest offer of a more than eleven percent raise for crews, proves that the company is negotiating in good faith and pilots should be barred from walking off the job. Union officials however, successfully argued that if the company believes that financial losses from even a one-day strike would far exceed the modest concessions sought by the collective bargaining group, then perhaps British Airways should consider meeting the workers’ demands.

“While we’re pleased with the judge’s decision, we’re frustrated that time has been wasted. BA could have spent this time coming back to the negotiating table instead of trying – and failing – to tie us up in legal knots,” BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said in a statement released on Tuesday. “This delay will now continue with BA seeking to appeal against the Hight Court’s decision. As a result it’s now likely the talks scheduled with ACAS [Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] on Friday will have to be postponed. We ask that BA thinks hard about why 93% of our members feel so strongly about taking strike action. The company itself has admitted that even one day of strike action would cost most than what our pilots are asking for, so the ball really is in their court here, to look after their pilots and ensure the hardworking public get to continue their holidays as planned. We have still not set any strike dates to give BA one last chance to commit to negotiating on pilots pay and rewards with us at ACAS later this week.”

The lack of a profit sharing scheme for pilots appears to be the major sticking point in negotiations. Although British Airways has reported record high profits in recent years, union officials point out that most employees are still working in the shadow of wage concession packages agreed to in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

“BA is making massive profits as a result of the hard work and dedication of staff, including because of sacrifices made during hard times,” the BALPA said in a statement on Monday announcing the strike vote. “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.”

The expert flyers on the Flyertalk British Airways Executive Club forum tend to agree that BA is still crying poor when it comes to taking care of workers and customers. It has been suggested that while any wage increases could very well be subject to give backs should the economy falter again, a profit sharing scheme would allow pilots to immediately share in the good times without having to renegotiate any agreed to concessions in the future.

“Well, when they see the airline having crazy profits yet still acting like it is about to go bankrupt tomorrow, then obviously staff + passengers can get a little annoyed,” Flyertalk member ahmetdouas offered.

“Post 2008, staff took pay cuts with the promise that the cuts would be reversed when the airline was in better shape financially,” Jagboi agreed. “To date, the cuts have not been reversed, so that staff are not back to where they were in 2008. Basically they want to be ‘made whole’ as was promised.”

Is it time for British Airways pilots (and passengers) to claw back some of what was lost in the financial downturn or would we all be better off simply accepting that it is a much different world today? The ballot boxes are open now in the Flyertalk forums, where every vote counts.


[Image Source: British Airways]

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OZFLYER86 August 7, 2019

layoffs & or loss sharing. Forget profits. BA might have trouble surviving the massive recession, which will kill off many high cost airlines & has already