19 Jun

Pay Talks 2019 – Update 19th June – Your Strike ballot at British Airways

For the last seven months your collective union(s) Unite, BALPA and GMB have tried their best (on your behalf) to persuade British Airways to make you an acceptable pay offer. An offer that is both fair and reflects the contribution you have made to the success of your airline.

That offer must be equitable, reasonable and affordable for BA.

The current offer only fulfils the last of these criteria. Despite record profits, British Airways remain unwilling to share such success with those who helped create it.

The mindset of the so called “fight for survival” has become a permanent fixture. Cost cutting measures introduced with undue haste are never rescinded or returned to those who made them – even when they are no longer necessary or when record breaking profits are announced.

It would seem that staff only exist in management thinking when blame must be apportioned, when times are bad, or a when collective belt tightening is required. It is easy to recount the seemingly endless list of cost cutting initiatives in every area. Different names but the same outcome, “cost” i.e. your pay or terms and conditions were reduced for the greater good of the airline.

During the bad times, ordinary staff have shouldered more than their fair share of the airline’s cost cutting initiatives and ever reducing terms and conditions, without either acknowledgement or reward. It is therefore entirely reasonable that they are now able to share in BA’s success.

However, this has simply not been the case. Management do share in this success through a series of profit-based initiatives which can add up to millions of pounds, but staff do not – and it is for this principle, that BALPA, the pilots’ union, has issued formal notice to BA of their intention to hold a strike ballot for their members.

Unite and GMB will be balloting their respective members in the near future.

At this point in time our appeals to management’s sense of fairness have failed and regrettably we will soon ask, if you wish to take such action in an attempt to persuade them that “sharing in success” should not be a sound bite or an afterthought, but a central principle within any business.

Empty promises and words count for nothing. Your union believes fairness can only be achieved via BA adopting four important principles to ensure that everyone shares in the airline’s success.

  • Pay
  • Improved Profit share
  • Share scheme option
  • Gain share scheme

These must be both reasonable and affordable but experience tells us that these are unlikely to be introduced voluntarily. British Airways cost cutting agenda will continue but the introduction of a ‘gain share’ scheme would ensure that areas affected will also benefit from any such productivity and ‘cost saving’ changes via an applicable bonus payment.

Such an aspiration may appear as wishful thinking, but it is not. One of the benefits of cooperation between the unions, is that BALPA have been able to share details of such a scheme, that has already been in operation for pilots since 2009. Unite believe that now is the time for this to be more widely implemented.

BALPA held meetings with BA yesterday, rejecting BA’s latest position and today issued a ballot for Industrial action. At this point in time we do not have the full details of what has been rejected.

However, Unite will also meet with BA today and receive any new offer of resolution.

Once we have these details, they will be discussed with Unite representatives from every area on Monday and a decision taken whether or not to proceed to an industrial action ballot of Unite members.

From this point onwards, events will change rapidly. There is now a very short window of opportunity before Unite discuss issuing our own ballot, we hope that management realise this and use the time wisely.

Thank you for your patience during this long process, your support and faith. We will do our best to keep you updated as they do.


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