A leaked letter from the BALPA pilots union suggests reps are planning on backing down from its ongoing dispute with British Airways over pay and conditions. The letter, which was sent to members late last week, was leaked to The Sun and says it is “time to bank the package on the table”.
That package is an 11.9 per cent pay rise spread over the next three years which both the cabin crew and ground staff unions have already accepted. Pilots had been angling for a so-called ‘share save’ scheme which would have allowed staff to cash in on shares with BA’s parent company, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) when the airline was performing well.
Any decision to back down will have to be put to a vote and it’s believed no formal ballot process has yet started.
British Airways did not immediately comment on the news, although the chief exec of IAG Willie Walsh said only a few days ago that he believed the offer from British Airways was fair and that the dispute was likely not just about money – suggesting pilots were more concerned about the direction the airline was headed.
In late September, IAG issued a profit warning following a one day pilots strike at British Airways that had been orchestrated by BALPA. The airline said it had been forced to cancel 2,325 flights leading to an estimated loss of €137 million.
The strike was the first led by pilots at the airline in over 40-years. There were rumours that BALPA had been planning on staging a 10-day ‘mega strike’ over the Christmas holiday period, although this now looks unlikely to go ahead.
Follows the recent collapse of Thomas Cook, the union has diverted attention from the BA dispute and has instead been concentrating on helping pilots at the failed airline. It’s suggested union leaders believe that dragging out the dispute will only win small additional concessions which could cause greater harm in the long run.