September 24, 2021

British Airways pilots cancel planned September 27 strike in dispute over pay

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British Airways pilots cancel next wave of strikes to avoid causing ‘irreparable damage’ to the company and to allow for ‘period of reflection’ before dispute escalates

  • Unions called off planned strikes at British Airways to avoid damaging the firm 
  • BA had cancelled hundreds of flights ahead of walkout on 27-28 of September
  • BALPA made a dramatic U-turn and said it was time for ‘common sense to prevail’
  • Customers will either be refunded or rebooked onto a flight with a rival airline

By Tom Payne Transport Correspondent

Published: 09:52 EDT, 18 September 2019 | Updated: 17:33 EDT, 18 September 2019

Unions have called off their planned strike at British Airways to avoid causing the firm ‘irreparable damage’.

BA pilots had been expected to walk out on Friday next week, in a repeat of the recent travel chaos that cost £80million in lost revenue.

More than 3,000 staff went on strike after their union Balpa rejected a pay offer of 11.5 per cent over three years.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) called off industrial action this afternoon, saying strikes on September 9 and 10 had shown their anger and resolve (file photo)

BA had cancelled hundreds of flights ahead of the scheduled walkout on September 27 and 28 but in a dramatic U-turn Balpa yesterday declared a ‘time-out for common sense to prevail’.

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 the September 27.

British Airways had to cancel nearly 100 per cent of its flights at London Heathrow due to a 48-hour strike action, leaving terminals (like Heathrow Terminal 5, pictured) deserted

‘BA passengers rightly expect BA and its pilots to resolve their issues without disruption and now is the time for cool heads and pragmatism to be brought to bear. I hope BA and its owner IAG show as much responsibility as the pilots.’

A Balpa spokesman said the earlier strikes on September 9 and 10 had sufficiently ‘demonstrated the anger and resolve of pilots’ and further action could not be ruled out.

The spokesman added: ‘It is now time for a period of reflection before the dispute escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand.’

An empty lounge at Heathrow Terminal Five on after strike action got underway earlier this month

BA started cancelling flights and informing passengers last Thursday afternoon to avoid falling foul of EU laws that entitle customers to compensation if they receive fewer than 14 days of notice. Under the same rules, the airline is not required to reimburse passengers for hotels and car hire.

Customers on cancelled flights will have either been refunded or rebooked on to a flight with a rival airline.

Last night BA said it was considering the implications of Balpa’s sudden announcement and promised updates in due course.

How BA passengers could face more chaos over Christmas 

British Airways passengers could face more pilot strikes over Christmas as part of a long-term campaign of chaos over pay.

The Balpa union said that BA’s failure to meet its demands during the long-running dispute could lead to a ‘damaging escalation’.

Balpa said its members – including captains paid an average of £167,000 – are prepared to take part in further strikes until its mandate for action ends in January. 

With another strike already scheduled for September 27, Balpa said yesterday: ‘Our ballot allows us to take action at any time.’

Higher-earning pilots have reportedly discussed sustaining months of industrial action by crowd-funding among themselves to help less senior members.

Strikes during the hectic Christmas holiday period would be hugely problematic for the airline. 

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