Millions of British Airways passengers booked to travel from the second week of August onwards face uncertainty about their flights, after 93 per cent of BA pilots voted in favour of industrial action on a turn-out of 90 per cent.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) represents about 85 per cent of British Airways captains, senior first officers and first officers, which means that seven out of 10 of the airline’s pilots support a strike in their dispute over pay.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of Balpa, 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.”
The union has not announced any industrial action as it faces an immediate court challenge from the airline.
BA is seeking a High Court injunction against Balpa on the grounds of legal technicalities involving the ballot.
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning at the High Court.
British Airways says it is offering a pay rise worth 11.5 per cent over three years, well above the rate of inflation.
The union says: ”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.”
Balpa says it will issue an update on strike action in due course.
ere BA to be refused an injunction and a strike were announced tomorrow, the earliest it could begin is 6 August.
All but around 500 of the airline’s 4,500 pilots belong to Balpa.
Bookings for British Airways in August are heavy, with an estimated 3.75 million passengers booked to fly with the airline.
The Independent has asked British Airways for a response.
The current dispute covers pilots working at Heathrow and Gatwick. It does not involve the CityFlyer operation based at London City.