British Airways pilot strike holds firm as union calls for talks

Another walkout planned for Sept. 27
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 09/11/2019
Labour strike
While the disruption has hit hardest in London, where BA operates from its twin hubs at Heathrow and Gatwick, the outages extend to other locales such as Edinburgh. London City, popular with business travelers, isn’t affected as those flights are operated by the CityFlyer affiliate. Shutterstock

LONDON (Bloomberg) — British Airways (BA) pilots forced the cancellation of almost all flights on the second day of a strike Tuesday as their union called on management to make new pay proposals to resolve the dispute.

The unit of IAG SA — which says the walkout is costing it about 40 million pounds (US$49 million) a day — scrubbed more than 1,600 departures and arrivals, after just five flights operated Monday.

With another walkout planned for Sept. 27, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said the solidity of the strike should come as a wake-up call for British Airways, and that there are no further negotiations currently planned after the current action ends just before midnight.

“Pilots are standing firm and have shown just how resolute they are,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said. “British Airways needs to start listening to its pilots and actually come up with ways of resolving this dispute.”

BA Chief Executive Officer Alex Cruz told the BBC earlier that its cockpit crews had been offered a deal that would have lifted remuneration 11.5 per cent to 202,000 pounds, including benefits, making the pilots among the best paid in the world.

BALPA disputes the figures and puts the cost of settling the strike at 5 million pounds, “one-eighth of the cost of just one day’s strike action.”

While the disruption has hit hardest in London, where BA operates from its twin hubs at Heathrow and Gatwick, the outages extend to other locales such as Edinburgh. London City, popular with business travelers, isn’t affected as those flights are operated by the CityFlyer affiliate.

The strike is the company’s first involving pilots since 1979 and threatens the travel plans of customers at the tail end of the busy summer season. Affected passengers have been re-booked on other airlines where possible, offered alternate dates to fly, or been given refunds. About 195,000 customers were affected by the action.

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