Today around 300,000 holidaymakers and travellers have had their plans turned to chaos and ruin as British Airways pilots stage a walkout. This is the first time pilots of British Airways have staged a walk-out in the 100 years of the company.
Who is leading the strike?
The strike ran by British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has forced the airline to announce that they’re having to cancel around 100% of their 1,700 planned flights over the next few days. Arguments over the rate of pay and other job perks are the cause of all the commotion between the pilots and British Airways and talks have been running for a number of months, but this is the first time the pilots have taken action. Another walkout has been put in place for the 27th of September which will cause further problems for customers as well as British Airways themselves.
British Airways have urged passengers not to turn up at the airports for the next couple of days. With the company hosting up to 850 flights a day and the fact BALPA did not state which of the pilots would be a part of this strike, they were unable to determine which flights will be able to commence with the remaining pilots. What started across the company at midnight is supposed to affect many airports around the world however the worst affected will be in Heathrow as 93% of British Airways pilots are based there, with the remaining 7% based in Gatwick.
Why are they feuding?
The feud between the pilots and their employer is over pay and additional work perks. As of the recession in 2008, pilots took a cut to their wages so that they can carry on working with the company. However, over time they haven’t seen their wages return to pre-2008. After talks between the two party’s BA presented an offer of an 11.5% increase in pay over the next three years with a 1% increase in their bonus scheme. Despite this offer being in line with how inflation has risen over the years BALPA and pilots were unhappy with the offer which led to the early protest. According to BALPA, the strike will cost British Airways around £40million a day. BALPA also claim that the dispute would only cost £5million to resolve the dispute. This statement urges customers to help resolve the issues as, in reality, they’re the one taking the biggest hit because of their ruined holiday plans.
British Airways plan for the future
British Airways recently announced their plans to invest £6.5 billion into their development plan looking into expanding their fleet with 73 new aircraft to help give new opportunities for pilots in the career progressions as well as securing the future of British Airways. BALPA, however, believe that they’re only looking after themselves as the airliner passed the opportunity to finish the talks on Friday.
What about the customers?
Customers are happy with neither side as we find out that most pilots earn over £100,000 a year and with the recent offer from British airways some captains will be making over double that looking at more than £200,000. British Airways admits they are willing to renegotiate and restart talks with the pilots in order to resolve the issues however there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the strikes ending as it remains that another will still commence on the 27th.
The customers themselves have been taking to social media to emphasise their displeasure at both British Airways and the pilots themselves:
British Airways have offered customers who have had their flights cancelled refunds or the option to re-book their flights in order to resolve the issue. However, it seems that some are not receiving their full refunds, and many are taking a long time to receive any money in return for this.
If you’ve been affected by these strikes including flight delays or cancellations then make sure to contact the British Airways customer services team and get in contact with British Airways to make sure that you’re refunded for your ticket or resolve any other troubles you’re having with the company.