British Airways pilots have today started a two-day strike following an ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions.
Yesterday, the airline warned thousands of passengers not to go to airports, as they would be cancelling many of the 1700 flights that were due to fly today.
The pilot’s union, BALPA released this statement last night, ahead of today’s action: “British Airways pilots will take strike action tomorrow in a clear message to the company’s managers that they will not be fobbed off in their dispute over pay and benefits.
“The pilots, whose argument is with the company’s highly paid management and not with passengers, have walked out after earlier negotiations broke down and the company’s subsequent refusal to consider alternative proposals or get back together for further constructive talks.
“British Airways would clearly rather inflict this bullying tactic on its staff and see its passengers take the brunt of the strike action inconvenience than engage with its employees to find a way forward. Pilots, who took pay cuts in the years following the financial crisis to help shore up the company, say BA’s fat cat managers have failed time and again to listen to their staff and seem determined force pilots to take the strike action.
“The flag carrier is making around £2bn profit and the cost of BALPA’s latest proposal is less than £5m more than British Airways previously offered. Meanwhile one day of strike action costs around £40m. An offer by BALPA on Wednesday to hold talks was ignored by BA. Further offers to hold meetings at ACAS made on Friday were also refused by British Airways.
“Instead, BA has resorted to breaking agreements and threatening pilots who will strike, which is bound to make matters worse. BA’s behaviour is illogical and irresponsible and will further deepen the fall out with their pilots.”
Following this, British Airways released this statement earlier today: “We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused you. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.
“Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent our flights.
“We remain ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA. Our customer teams – supported by additional colleagues – have been working tirelessly to help as many of you as possible and to provide options, including a full refund or re-booking to a different date of travel or alternative airline.
“We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline. Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected. We’re working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers.
“If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport.”
— British Airways (@British_Airways) September 9, 2019