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Strike Averted: British Airways Agrees Pay Deal With Pilots Union to Head Off Christmas Walk-Out

Strike Averted: British Airways Agrees Pay Deal With Pilots Union to Head Off Christmas Walk-Out

According to a new report in the Financial Times (subscription required), British Airways has managed to strike a new three-year pay deal with pilots that will avert the risk of a Christmas “mega-strike” that could have cost the airline hundreds of millions of pounds.  The BALPA pilots union is said to be recommending the deal to its members and a vote is planned within the next few weeks.

The deal is based on the same one accepted by cabin crew and many ground staff earlier this year – the only difference between BA’s old offer of an 11.5 per cent pay rise spread over three years and the current offer is that the airline has agreed to add an inflation protection clause.  The same clause is likely to be added to the deal already agreed by many workers.

In addition, British Airways is offering “improvements to working conditions, rostering and flight bonuses,” although the FT did not have specific details on what changes pilots would see as a result of accepting the deal.  British Airways has, however, agreed to reinstate heavily discounted flight tickets that it stripped from pilots who took part in a 48-hour strike in September.

That unprecedented walkout cost British Airways €137 million and led to the cancellation of 2,325 flights.  It was the first strike by pilots at the airline in over 40-years and the first-ever strike at British Airways in its current form.

The BALPA union had originally been pushing for a share save scheme, as well as a more generous pay rise and additional improvements to work rules.  Earlier this month, we reported a major change of direction for the union following the demise of Thomas Cook Airlines, as well as Brexit uncertainty.

It’s believed that British Airways agreed to hire a number of redundant Thomas Cook pilots at the request of BALPA, as part of a deal to bring the industrial dispute to an end.

When approached by the FT, a spokesperson for British Airways said of the rumours:

“We can confirm that Balpa, BA and ACAS [the arbitration service] 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.”

“We welcome this positive step,” the spokesperson continued.

BALPA is yet to comment on the news.

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