The strike by pilots belonging to British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) for the first time in history has forced British Airlines to cancel all its flights for both Monday and Tuesday. The decision to go on a flash strike by pilots was taken after pay related dispute between airline management and BALPA representatives. The association is planning another strike towards the end of this month on September 27 which may extend to other days if no solution is reached soon. British Airways spokesperson stated that nearly 200,000 passengers had to look for alternatives on these two days as their flights were cancelled.
The strike was called as pilots were not willing to accept the 11.5 % hike in salaries across three years and asked for a share in the firm’s growing profits. During 2018, BA made profits of nearly £ 2 billion representing increase of 11.6 % since last year. The pilots were hurt by management’s attitude as in the past they had made huge sacrifices to keep the airlines afloat like taking pay cuts, reducing annual leave besides other adjustments and now wanted a small part of BA’s huge profits which was not being given.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of BALPA told news persons that they put forward a profit sharing proposal in which staff would receive 7 % of base pay during profitable times and no increase during challenging times. In a recent email the union said that this dispute could be settled if management was willing to give another £ 5 million above the 11.5 % hike. British Airways announced that all other labor unions representing 90 % of staff like cabin crew, ground staff and engineers had accepted the pay hike proposed by management. To manage the crisis of cancelled flights BA stated that it would allow as many customers as possible the option of rebooking with other airlines or giving them a refund.