Holidaymakers face chaos as British Airways pilots vote nine-to-one for industrial action that could mean strikes as early as August 6
After four weeks, BA pilots have voted nine-to-one in favour of industrial action, which would throw UK airports into chaos in the middle of the summer holidays.
The walkout could happen as soon as August 6 after members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) voted this afternoon.
The airline says it will seek a High Court injunction to stop the strike going ahead.
But flight crew are only legally obliged to give two week’s notice for industrial action, which falls in the second week of the school holidays in England and Wales.
Over the past four weeks around 4,000 of BA’s 4,500 pilots have been voting on whether to walk out over their salaries.
Despite many of them being on six-figure sums, they claim their wages have not increased with inflation and have rejected an 11.5 per cent pay rise.
With the vast majority of BA pilots signed up the union, the walk-out will mean a huge number of cancelled flights.
British Airways operates at 14 UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle, Newcastle, Inverness, and Edinburgh.
London City is the only hub it flies from which would not be affected as the pilots who fly from there are on different contracts.
Balpa has not announced what action it would take but said further negotiations were on hold because of the legal move by BA.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: ‘This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted.
‘Sadly three days of Acas talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.
‘We do not wish to inconvenience our customers, which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November – it is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.’
A BA spokesman said: ‘We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers’ travel plans and avoid industrial action. We urge Balpa to return to talks as soon as possible.’
Balpa said it believes the cost to BA to settle the dispute is ‘significantly’ less than the cost of a single day’s strike action.
A statement said: ‘BA is making massive profits as a result of the hard work and dedication of staff, including because of sacrifices made during hard times.
‘Thankfully BA is no longer in a fight for survival so, like the airline’s senior managers and directors, pilots deserve a small fraction of that profit via, for instance, a profit share scheme.
‘We remain hopeful that this dispute can be resolved before strike action, but we remain committed to action if necessary.’
In a separate pay dispute, the Unite union has threatened to shut down Heathrow and bring ‘check-in chaos’ for easyJet passengers at Stansted, with workers due to walk out from next week.
It has also warned Gatwick faces a ‘summer of disruption’.
Its members – including security staff who scan luggage for explosives and maintenance workers – are currently voting on whether to strike.