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BA pilots vote in favour of industrial action in pay row

The airline will seek an injunction on Tuesday in the High Court to halt any action.

BA will seek an injunction in the High Court to halt any action (Steve Parsons/PA)
BA will seek an injunction in the High Court to halt any action (Steve Parsons/PA)

British Airways pilots have voted heavily in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) backed action by more than 9-1 on a turnout of 90%.

The airline will seek an injunction on Tuesday in the High Court to halt any action.

This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted Brian Strutton, Balpa general secretary

Balpa did not announce what action it would take but said further negotiations were on hold because of the legal move by BA.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted.

“Sadly three days of Acas talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.

“We do not wish to inconvenience our customers, which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November – it is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”

We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers' travel plans and avoid industrial action BA spokesman

A BA spokesman said: “We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers’ travel plans and avoid industrial action.

“We urge Balpa to return to talks as soon as possible.”

Balpa said it believes the cost to BA to settle the dispute is “significantly” less than the cost of a single day’s strike action.

A statement said: “BA is making massive profits as a result of the hard work and dedication of staff, including because of sacrifices made during hard times.

“Thankfully BA is no longer in a fight for survival so, like the airline’s senior managers and directors, pilots deserve a small fraction of that profit via, for instance, a profit share scheme.

“We remain hopeful that this dispute can be resolved before strike action, but we remain committed to action if necessary.”

BA said its offer to pilots was worth 11.5% over three years.

BA later added: “We are very disappointed that Balpa has chosen to threaten the travel plans of thousands of our customers, over the summer holidays, with possible strike action.  

“We remain open to working with Balpa to reach an agreement, which we have been doing since December.

“Our proposed pay offer of 11.5% over three years is fair, and by contrast to Balpa the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90% of all British Airways colleagues, have already recommended the same pay offer to their members.”

Unite announced that more than 90 firefighters and fire and rescue staff at Heathrow had voted for strike action in a separate dispute over pay.

They will join over 4,000 Heathrow workers in their second and third two-day strikes planned for August 5-6, and August 23-24.

The first two-day strike, which involves over 4,000 security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers, is set to take place on July 26-27 unless a breakthrough in talks between Unite and Heathrow Airport at the conciliation service Acas can be found.

The planned strikes follow the rejection of an 18-month pay offer amounting to 2.7% which according to Unite amounts to £3.75 extra a day for the lowest paid workers involved in the dispute.

Unite regional officer Russ Bull said: “Bosses at Heathrow Airport need to heed this massive vote in favour of strike action by a group of workers who are essential to the airport’s safety.

“They need to seize the window of opportunity that talks at the conciliation service Acas offer and work with Unite to resolve this pay dispute.

“The disruption of strike action can be avoided, but only if Heathrow Airport bosses start listening to staff across the airport.

“Workers who are essential to the smooth and safe running of Heathrow are sick and tired of bosses pleading poverty and being told to accept a pittance of a pay rise, while shareholders receive billions in dividends.”

“Our members do not take strike action lightly, but they have grown increasingly frustrated. This is a dispute which could have been sorted months ago.”

Meanwhile, Unite announced that a planned 24-hour strike by check-in staff on Thursday at Stansted Airport has been suspended, while staff vote on an improved pay offer.

The dispute involves passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Limited, which has the easyJet contract at the Essex airport.

PA

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