Bri­tish Air­ways pi­lots ac­cept 20% pay cut amid pan­demic im­pact

Business Day (Nigeria) - - COMPANIES & MARKETS - OLUFIKAYO OWOEYE

The Bri­tish Air­line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion have an­nounced that Bri­tish Air­ways pi­lots have ac­cepted a deal that will tem­po­rar­ily cut their pay by 20per­cent and limit job losses to just about 270, as against the ini­tial planned 1,255.

This deal has re­solved an on­go­ing bit­ter dis­pute be­tween the pi­lots and the air­line, as the car­ri­ers at­tempt to nav­i­gate through the global slump in air travel due to COVID-19

The Bri­tish Air­line Pi­lots’ As­so­ci­a­tion (BALPA), while dis­clos­ing that just over one-fifth of the 1,255 ini­tially planned re­dun­dan­cies will be al­lowed to go, the terms of the agree­ment sug­gest that the pi­lots will ac­cept an ini­tial pay cut of 20%, which will grad­u­ally re­duce to 8% over a 2- year pe­riod and then phase out en­tirely in a longer-term.

The pi­lot union said that there will not be fir­ing and re­hir­ing of pi­lots. The UK law­mak­ers had pre­vi­ously been very crit­i­cal of Bri­tish Air­ways over the al­leged us­age of fur­lough fire and re­hire scheme, a strat­egy used by com­pa­nies to force em­ploy­ees to ac­cept inferior terms.

They ac­cused the air­line of plan­ning to cut as many as 12,000 jobs and ex­ploit­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis to re­duce staff and weaken the em­ploy­ment terms of those re­main­ing.

Air­lines have been se­ri­ously hit by govern­ment lock­downs and re­stric­tions that are parts of mea­sures to con­tain the spread of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

The hopes of the air­lines re­cov­er­ing at the tail end of the prof­itable sum­mer tourism sea­son seem to have been dashed due to dis­rup­tions caused by a new wave of the virus out­break in many coun­tries, in­clud­ing France and Spain, with new travel re­stric­tions be­ing placed by them.

The In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (IATA), had re­vealed that a full re­cov­ery is un­likely be­fore 2024, which is a year later than it had ear­lier pre­dicted. The Bri­tish Air­ways, while agree­ing with this bleak assess­ment, says that it does not ex­pect the air­line to re­turn to preCOVID- 19 busi­ness level un­til at least 2023.

The IAG Group, hold­ing com­pany for Bri­tish Air­ways, said yes­ter­day, “There­fore we need to act now to re­shape our com­pany for a very dif­fer­ent fu­ture.”

The com­pany has not re­ceived the bil­lions in bailouts that some ri­val air­lines like Air FranceKLM and Deutsche Lufthansa re­ceived. The as­sis­tance they got was only lim­ited to fur­lough funds to pro­tect jobs and state­backed loans.

Global lock­down im­posed to fight the coro­n­avirus pan­demic have neg­a­tively af­fected air travel, thereby putting the fu­ture of many air­lines in se­ri­ous doubt.

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