British Airways (BA) has made a provisional settlement with its pilots. If agreed, this will help the airline avoid the threat of Christmas disruption by members of its crew.
A period of insecurity
Two months ago, British Airways’ pilots staged a two-day strike in protest of proposed wage issues. These strikes spanned continuously over the 9th and 10th of September. Subsequently, only one flight was operated by the British carrier over this whole period. This single flight was a service to Japan.
Thereafter, the airline’s parent company IAG announced that it expects the strike to cost it €137 million ($150 million). There was also going to be a third strike on the 29th of September, but the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) called it off. Altogether, 4,521 flights were initially canceled by the airline. However, 2,196 of these were eventually reinstated.
What is the deal?
Following discussions, The Guardian reports the union has now suggested a deal that is worth 12 percent over three years to its members. Now, the pilots will have to vote to accept the deal. A key part of the offering is the guarantee of underpinning pay rises to inflation.
Improvements to working conditions are also being offered, including rosters. The generous travel perks that were previously stripped from the pilots would also be restored under the new deal. However, it does not include the profit-sharing scheme that was demanded.
Hope for a resolution
BALPA’s general secretary Brian Strutton confirmed that the breakthrough was put together by the union, BA and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
“We can confirm that BALPA, BA, and ACAS have put together a new pay and conditions proposal and, subject to final checks, BALPA expects it will shortly be consulting its 4,000 BA members on them,” the union said, as reported by The Guardian.
This news follows BA’s pressure from IAG head Willie Walsh, who wants the disputed to be resolved as soon as possible. Even though he has left the responsibility of the issue with the BA, the businessman said that the situation has left him frustrated. Walsh also added that he felt that it is not in any of the parties’ interest for the disputes to keep going.
If accepted, the settlement would ensure that there is no anxiety of strikes leading up to Christmas. Therefore, BA will be eager to hear the verdict from the airline’s 4,000 BALPA members.
Simple Flying reached out to British Airways for comment on the breakthrough with the union. The carrier responded by saying that it welcomes this positive step. We will update the article with any further announcements.
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