British Airways pilot strike over salary dispute grounds almost all its flights

British Airways (BA) has told its passengers not to turn up at airports after a pilots began their 48 hour strike on Monday. More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled, and close to 280,000 passengers would be affected.

The pilot agitation would cost the company more than GDP£ 80m in revenue loss.

BA and The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), a pilot union are clashing after the company rejected a proposed 11.5 per cent pay rise for its pilots, taking their pay package to around GDP£ 200,000 a year.

The airline company was accused of bullying its own staff by union bosses, who warned they could continue the action until the end of the year.

BALPA alleged that BA “has resorted to breaking agreements and threatening pilots who will strike, which is bound to make matters worse” after they emailed their 4,300 pilots on Friday warning that strike action would be a ‘serious breach’ of their contract.

The airline further threatened to withdraw a travel perk, where staff can book tickets for ten per cent of the full fare plus taxes, for three years if they chose to strike.

BALPA branded the airline’s behaviour “illogical and irresponsible” and “will further deepen the fall out with their pilots.”

Flights to cities such as New York, Delhi, Hong Kong and Johannesburg have all been affected.

Travellers have been offered full refunds, flights on different carriers, or the option to fly on a different date.

Captains take home a salary of GBP£ 167,000 a year, while co-pilots take home GBP£ 70,000. British Airways say they made a “fair” offer of an 11.5 per cent pay rise over three years, plus a one percent bonus.

The deal was already accepted by members of the Unite and GMB unions, which represent 90 percent of British Airways’ staff. BALPA says that now the company is in better financial health, its members should see a greater share of the profits and have a mandate for strike action until January, raising fears of Christmas travel chaos.

Source : Various

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