Frustrated pilots of British Airways have called a two-day strike beginning at midnight on 8 September, 2019, to protest against unsatisfactory pay and to demand better share in profits.
The British Airways Pilots Association (BALPA) has clarified that the strike was its last resort and that its members are extremely disappointed and frustrated with the management. The strike will cost the airline up to GBP 40 million a day.
The pilots had refused to accept a pay rise of 11.5 per cent, which happened over three years, in the month of July.
The argument of BALPA is that since its members settled for poor increments and were accommodative during the Airline’s tough times, they should now get a better share in profits since British Airways’ financial situation has become better. It is reported that International Airlines Group (IAG), its parent company, witnessed a nine per cent hike in profits in 2018. The IAG, also owns IBERIA and Aer Lingus airlines, and supposedly posted a pre-tax profit of GBP 2.8 billion last year.
However, the Airline maintains that it is paying its pilots as per international standards and the remuneration it offers to them is not only fair but generous. According to the Airline, once the 11.5 per cent pay hike is fully implemented over a three-year period, the pilots, on an average, will earn more than GBP 200,000 a year, inclusive of allowances.
The union chooses to disagree, saying that the junior pilots receive a base salary of merely about GBP 26,000. However, the pilots are known to receive additional thousands of pounds annually, in the form of allowances, such as ‘flying pay’, that is, payment for time away from base.