British Airways Pilots Vote To Go On Strike

Filed Under: British Airways, Unions

Update: Strike dates have now been announced.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how talks broke down between British Airways management and their pilots union over a new contract.

British Airways is experiencing record profitability at the moment, and the pilots want their share of that. They claim that management has a permanent “fight for survival” mentality when it comes to paying employees, while the company is earning record profits.

Management has offered an 11.5% pay increase over three years, though pilots want more.

As I noted at the time, British Airways pilots have been balloting over whether or not go on strike, and that ballot closed today.

With the balloting having closed, British Airways pilots have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action — 93% voted in favor of industrial action, based on a 90% turnout.

BALPA’s General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said the following:

“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.”

The union is claiming that the cost to settle this dispute in full is going to be less costly than even a single day’s strike action (I’d be curious about the math behind that).

British Airways management is going to the High Court tomorrow (Tuesday, July 23) to seek an injunction against BALPA, claiming the following:

“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.”

We’ve now learned that this failed, and the judge ruled in favor of BALPA.

The pilots don’t yet have exact dates for a potential strike, and will issue these in due course. They say that they’re still hopeful that this can be resolved without a strike. If a strike does happen, it would be no earlier than August 5 at this point, based on the notice that they’re required to give.

  1. How long would it potentially take? Does EU compensation and duty of care apply in case of strike?

  2. There is a court hearing tomorrow morning (Tuesday UK time). BA believe there were flaws in the ballot process.

    I do not see the Union announcing dates until after the Judge rules.

    And then they have to give 14 days notice so if they announce dates on Wedesday it is 14 days from then. If Thursday 14 days from Thursday etc

    It may not even be an all out strike, BALPA could rotate striking so it’s members aren’t all out at the same time.

    BA will make the decisions on which flights they cancel once they know the dates and which members will be on strike on those dates.

    EU261 duty of care will apply if a passenger is affected.

    Compensation is not certain. the UK CAA has said that strikes within an airline (on the basis the airline partly causes them) aren’t exempt but it hasn’t been tested, as far as I know, in the courts

  3. tell them to tqke a flying leap, i,m off from BA , more like BS, now to another carrier, . The more they get paid, the higher the fares, whatn they have been offered is OK, I know they nhaqve to spend loads to qualify, but their wages are ok, If they don,t like pay conditions, go to anothger airline,\.

  4. BA upper management is such a pack of weasels that even if they were right (they’re not), it would be almost impossible to be sympathetic to their cause.

  5. I think both EU261 and most credit card benefit packages only offer monetary compensation in the event of an unannounced strike. EU261 duty of care applies regardless.

  6. Shit. I Just booked a reward flight First class LHR-MEX for late August. I hope the issue gets resolved by then.

  7. Eu compensation does apply in the event of industrial action as does the right of care. It’s impossible to know which services would be affected if any

  8. My prior comment was incorrect, please delete.

    I think it goes like this:
    Announced strike, 2 weeks’ notice given to passengers: EC261 refund or rebooking only.
    Announced strike, proper notice not given to passengers: EC261 duty of care (if normally applicable, like if you’re at the airport or if you’re away from home and require an overnight stay), plus standard EC261 compensation.
    Unannounced strike: EC261 duty of care only, but CC Trip Delay normally applies.

  9. And what about award travel interruptions? We’re booked on BA MAN-LHR-CPH as part of a AA award – the first leg being PHL-MAN on AA metal.

  10. Saw on the hilarious comment section of DailyMail “Welcome to Brexit Britain guys!! Such situations are likely to arise more often than before and you can kiss goodbye to EU compensation in case of delayed/cancelled flights. Make BA and British Food great again”

  11. Ben it would be useful if you could give further detail on exactly what cuts the staff have had to take which haven’t been reinstated, and exactly what component of their package this payrise applies to.
    It would give a more rounded view of the situation.

  12. I have travel booked on British Airways Flight 174-JFK to Heathrow, Aug 21, 2019, return Aug 28,2019,flight 173. What are the chances my flights will be affected? Thank you. Maryjane Scheibal…I booked a hotel also through BA also.

  13. I’m booked for Wednesday 24 July from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow with a return on 7 July from London Heathrow to Chicago Ohare. If the Airline is unable to get a stay tomorrow (23 July), what day will actual strike occur? I have trip insurance underwritten by Birkshire Hathaway. Do most insurance policies cover losses caused by strikes?

  14. @Maryjane Given the strike dates have not yet been announced you’re 100% likely to travel currently.

  15. When you strip out expected RPI, the pay-deal is virtually ‘standing still’.
    Pilots helped in the 2008 financial crisis by taking a 2.6% cut, which was never returned when good times returned.
    Compounded to today, that 2.6 equates to now being over 16% down.
    All this media talk of ‘greedy’ pilots is ignorant of the facts.
    Compare to the CEO awarding himself a 64% increase in 1 year.

  16. @LWF Why don’t you contact your own insurer rather than use the guesstimates if everyone else who don’t have access to your policy?

  17. They’re complaining about 11.5% increase over 3 years? Why don’t they get off their high horse. Any salaried person would be happy with that

  18. Ryan says:
    July 23, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Except of course that they gave up more than that 10 years ago when times were bad and they have never been compensated for their loss. Times are good at BA now and they are making billions in profit. The pilots are only asking for what is rightfully theirs.

    They then have to watch Walsh and Cruz with their snouts and trotters in the trough taking obscene pay rises while they are still down on the situation 10+ years ago.

    I hope they strike and I hope they win.

  19. @Ryan You clearly don’t know the background, some of which has been posted above (but I would have expected Ben to explain in full by now…), so you’re not in an informed position to give meaningful comment.
    Go find out the truth, not just the headline 11.5% over 3 years, and you’ll be much more empathetic.

  20. **** UPDATE 17.30 BST UK TIME ****

    BA lost their application for an injunction today and the judge ruled that the ballot question was valid.

    BA are appealing and this will be heard on either Friday or Monday

    BALPA have announced that whilst they legally can announce strike dates now they won’t until the result of the appeal hearing is known

    That pushes the EARLIEST date for a strike (not an actual date) to 14 days from either Friday or Monday depending on when the Judgment is announced from the appeal

  21. I booked my family of four leaving August 21st returning September 1st. Boston to Heathrow. What’s likely to happen ? And what if we get there and can’t get back home due to strike dates?

  22. @Jodi Read upthread & you’ll see why nobody anywhere will be able to give you any answers to your questions.
    And if you do ever want an answer – ask the airline, not a bunch of random strangers who know less than the airline does.

  23. Per BALPA’s Twitter account, appeal date is set for Tuesday (the 30th).

    My flight’s on the 15th…

  24. Sorry. Not a strike related question but. We have to get from Gatwick to Heathrow With only 3 1/2 hours between flights. Can it be done? BA tells me they must allow a 3 hour minimum time. Called a car service in a London and they said I probably wouldn’t make it! Coming in from Austria
    Thanks for any thoughts or car service recommendations .

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