The union which represents thousands of pilots at British Airways has been forced to deny rumours it is planning a 10-day ‘mega strike’ that would cost the airline in excess of £400 million. The rumour, first reported by The Sun, claims the BALPA pilots union is planning the massive walkout in November if British Airways fails to meet its demands over pay and conditions.
A two-day strike on the 9th and 10th of September is estimated to have cost British Airways around £80 million which is based on figures that the airline’s lawyers presented to the High Court in London earlier this year. British Airways cancelled nearly 100 per cent of its flights to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airport during the 48-hour walkout.
The airline said it had been forced to pretty much ground its entire operation because the union refused to provide information about what pilots would be available to work. It describes it’s three-year 11.5 per cent pay offer as “fair” but pilots also want an option to earn shares in the airline – a demand that British Airways has so far refused.
“The disruption we have seen so far is nothing. The mega walkout would bring BA to its knees,” an unnamed source told The Sun. The newspaper claims the strike would be designed to “break” British Airways.
BALPA has strenuously denied the idea of a mega strike and described the rumour as “nonsense”.
The rumour started to do the rounds just as British Airways started to cancel hundreds more flights in preparation for a third pilot walkout pencilled in for the 27th September. By cancelling flights with more than 14-day’s notice, the airline is able to avoid mandatory compensation payouts.
In the last few days, British Airways and BALPA have been meeting via a third-party mediation service in a bid to find a breakthrough in stalled talks. BALPA described BA’s move to cancel flights as “irresponsible and inconsiderate” and it’s feared the inflammatory action could delay a possible resolution even further.