British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle was warned during a meeting with pilot representatives last Tuesday that “only quantifiable actions… would be acceptable”, according to an email to its members last week seen by the Telegraph. “This did not occur,” the email said.
British Airways pilots agreed to sacrifice a portion of their salaries to mitigate job losses in a pay deal agreed in July 2020. They accepted temporary pay cuts of 20pc, falling to 8pc over the following two years, allowing job cuts to be reduced from 1,255 to 270.
Pilots want a pay increase rather than a pay cut. Union sources said that there are increasing calls for a vote on strike action after witnessing the success of the Unite and GMB unions.
Ground handling crew halted planned industrial action last week after winning an 8pc pay rise. Meanwhile, staff working for refueling companies that service rival aircraft have been offered a 10pc wage increase.
A union source said: “They did it by stomping their feet and having a ballot on strike action.
“‘BA seems to ignore you until you issue a ballot,’ is the sentiment among members. Within Balpa we don’t usually like to do that. We would rather take a grown-up approach. But we are under enormous pressure. And the longer this goes on, the harder it gets.”
Tom Keeney, a veteran BT executive, was parachuted in earlier this month to lead talks on behalf of British Airways. He was hired in a new role entitled director of industrial relations.
Talks continued today after Balpa wrote to airline chiefs reasserting that the salary sacrifice scheme had to be abandoned.
Martin Chalk, Balpa general secretary, said: “We are in talks with British Airways and wish to persuade them that continuing deductions from our members’ pay is unwarranted. We should actually be talking about pay increases given the inflationary scenario.
“Unless BA is prepared to walk with us down that road then we will have to consult with members to consider our next actions.”
British Airways has been contacted for comment.