Three trade union representing cabin crew, pilots and ground staff at British Airways have said they are growing “increasingly frustrated” with the airline’s “intransigence” to offer what they see as an acceptable pay deal. British Airways, though, has said it still wants to negotiate a settlement after 97% of workers who took part in a recent ballot voted to reject an offer proposed by the airline.
British Airways had apparently offered a 2.7% pay rise, with a minimum uplift of £600, plus a one-off bonus of 0.5% on basic pay – falling well short of the 5% pay rise, increased profit sharing and share buyback scheme that unions are demanding. The airline had also offered a two-year pay deal worth up to 4.8% but this was rejected following BA’s insistence that the offer was subject to unspecified “change initiatives”.
With the two sides apparently at deadlock, British Airways is said to have gone back to work on an improved pay offer with further talks set to take place close to the end of April – crucially after the busy Easter holiday period.
“BA alone holds the key to unlock these negotiations and the company should use this opportunity to do so,” the three unions said in a joint statement. “BA must now realise that time is becoming increasingly short.”
“We are far from optimistic that this promised new offer will prove any more acceptable to members than the previous two.”
The BALPA (pilots), GMB (ground staff) and Unite (cabin crew) unions say they will continue preparations for official industrial action ballots. 93% of union members said they would back a second ballot for industrial action – which could include strikes – if British Airways doesn’t now make an offer which is acceptable to the unions.
Talks between the two sides have been ongoing since November 2018 after the three unions made an “unprecedented” joint pay claim. Oliver Richardson of the Unite Union says employees have become “disconnected” from the airline’s success despite their efforts helping to move British Airways from a £230 million loss in 2009 to a £1.8 billion profit in 2017.
A recent internal survey revealed that only 56% of BA employees were proud to work for the airline, while just 21% of employees said they feel recognised for the contribution they make.
British Airways has previously told us that they are continuing “open discussions with our trade unions” and that the pay offer is “fair, reasonable and reflects typical pay awards given by other companies in the UK.”
Rival Virgin Atlantic is also continuing talks with its cabin crew over a revised pay deal.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.