British Airways Pilots call off next week's strike
British Airways pilots have called off the next strike in their dispute, which had been scheduled for 27 September. Last week, a two-day stoppage called by the pilots’ union, Balpa, forced BA to cancel almost all its flights.
The strike followed failed negotiations between the union and the airline over a pay offer of 11.5% over three years. Balpa said the strikes on 9 and 10 September had demonstrated the anger and resolve of pilots.
It was now time for a period of reflection before the dispute “escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand”, the union said.
A spokesman for BA said: “We have just received this news. We are considering the implications and we will give updates in due course.”
British Airways had already started cancelling flights for 27 September last Thursday – just outside the 14-day window when the company must pay passengers compensation if their travel is cancelled.
The airline has said it will try to reinstate as many of the flights as possible, but it is not yet clear if they will all be put back on the schedule for 27 September.
British Airways said it will be in touch with customers to let them know. The airline was forced to cancel 1,700 flights last week during the pilots’ walkout over pay.
Some 200,000 passengers had to change their travel plans because of the strikes.
Image copyrightEPAImage captionAround 200,000 people were forced to change their travels plans because of last week’s pilots’ strike
Balpa said it hoped BA would “now change its approach and negotiate seriously” with a view to ending the dispute.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Someone has to take the initiative to sort out this dispute and with no sign of that from BA, the pilots have decided to take the responsible course.
“In a genuine attempt at establishing a time out for common sense to prevail, we have lifted the threat of the strike on 27 September.”
However, Balpa said it retained the right to announce further strike dates.
BA had offered pilots an 11.5% pay rise over three years in July, but this was rejected. Balpa said that its members had taken lower pay rises and made sacrifices during tougher times for the airline.
It said that now BA’s financial performance had improved – its parent company IAG reported a 9% rise in profits last year – pilots should benefit. BA said the 11.5% offer was “fair and generous”.