Updated: Aug 3
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said in a statement on Friday that a deal had been struck between the association and the airline. The deal, which was accepted by the 85% of voters, contemplates a 20% temporary pay cut (which will then be reduced to 8% over the following 2 years and ultimately to zero in the long-term) and up to 270 “mandatory redundancies.” Despite the estimations, “the number of redundancies will fall as mitigations take effect”, the statement added.
British Airways' A320neo. Photo by Anselm Ranta | AeroNewsX
However, this deal comes after intense negotiations with BALPA as a response to BA’s initial intentions to furlough 1,255 pilots, who eventually would end up being rehired with new contracts that would likely offer major downgrades in terms of conditions. There will be no “fire and rehire” of pilots, the union noted.
In this matter, UK lawmakers had previously criticized BA for using such a scheme that persuaded employees to accept inferior terms, Reuters has reported.
Likewise, the General Secretary of BALPA, Brian Strutton, lamented over “the fact that (they) were unable to persuade BA to avoid all compulsory redundancies,” describing it as “bitterly disappointing”.
On the other hand, IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh has fiercely defended the measures that the British flag carrier is taking as the only way to survive the devastating effects of the pandemic and also to guarantee future operations. He also warned that the crisis is “going to involve pain for everybody,” and seized a live show on SkyNews to respond to those “who argue that this is opportunism, or that the company don’t need to do this or this can be addressed through temporary measures” by reminding them that “the scale of the challenges that the industry is facing shouldn’t be underestimated.”
However, a BA spokesperson thanked all parties involved in the deal by saying that "this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone at BA and we are grateful to BALPA and our flight operations team for the work they have done to reach this agreement and save hundreds of jobs."
A British Airways A321neo. Photo by Anselm Ranta | AeroNewsX
Parallelly, BA also stressed on the fact that “they do not expect the company to return to 2019 levels of business until at least 2023 and therefore they need to act now to reshape the company for a very different future.”
On Thursday, Willie Walsh told the BBC that the coronavirus crisis was the worst the company has faced in its history, and the carrier insisted that it’s doing its best to save jobs.
British Airways’ parent company IAG recently reported a £3.2bn loss for the first 6 months of the year, compared to the £0.9bn profit for the same period last year.