LONDON – After many months of deliberation, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and British Airways (BA) have tentatively agreed on a job package, potentially saving over a thousand jobs.

It is keen to note that whilst this package has been agreed on between the two sides, a ballot via a consultation will now take place, with voting expecting to take place on July 30.

Initial proposals from BA saw a massive 1,255 pilots to be made redundant, but with the new package, set to be voted on by Pilots, would only reduce this down to 270.

British Airways unveil ‘victoRIOus’ the aircraft bringing Team GB and ParalympicsGB back from Rio Taken: 15th August 2016 Picture by: Stuart Bailey / British Airways

Comments from BALPA

Commenting on the news was Brian Strutton, the BALPA General Secretary who stated this was the best deal that could be put together in the wake of BA not accepting full proposals.

“It is hugely disappointing that during our extensive negotiations British Airways would not accept the full package of mitigations we put forward which would have avoided any job losses at all, and at no cost to BA.”

“As a result there will be some compulsory redundancies amongst the pilot community and that is a matter of huge regret. Given BA’s intransigence we have put together the best package we can to save as many jobs as possible”, he added.

British Airways Boeing 747-400 G-CIVY. Photo: ©Vincenzo Pace

Further Package Elements

On top of the 270 compulsory redundancies, the package features a few more elements.

The first of which is voluntary part-time working, voluntary severance, and voluntary external secondments which can bring down costs for the airline.

Second, a holding pool which will consist of 300 pilots employed on reduced pay ready to return to flying as soon as demand at the carrier picks up.

These two elements will be funded by pilot pay cuts starting at 20% and then reducing to eight per cent within two years and then returning to normal, all demand dependent.

British Airways Boeing 777-236ER [G-VIIB] | Photo: © Aaron Davis

No More Fire and Rehire

The most important element of this package, which will be of great pleasure to most Pilots is that BA has ditched its “fire and rehire” policy, which was something the airline came under scrutiny for.

Earlier last month, BA had threatened up to 19,000 staff with potential dismissal notices unless they accept worse pay and conditions.

The carrier has been burning heavy amounts of money every day due to most of its fleet being grounded and is now looking at ways to reduce costs.

April 28 saw the carrier send Section 188 letters to three unions representing nearly 35,500 of its staff members.

British Airways New Livery. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019

New Suspension Scheme

According to ITV News, the outlet had seen letters that reveal the plans for rehiring employees on new terms and conditions as well as a pay cut, the latter understood to be around 60%.

The outlet also stated that the airline will make up to 12,500 redundancies over this period anyway.

It is understood that the new contracts would also allow BA to suspend staff for up to six weeks per year without being paid.

British Airways Negus 747 Aircraft Taken: 21st March 2019 Picture by: Stuart Bailey

Up to a Vote

In addition, the letter stated that BA is considering dismissing or terminating the contract of at least 19,358 staff if agreements cannot be reached.

The next step to solidify this deal is the voting stage by the Pilots in the union.

It will be in BALPA’s best interests to vote this package in for approval as it could make or break over a thousand jobs.

Whilst 270 Pilots would have to lose jobs if the deal is approved, BALPA’s regret towards that motion also suggests an emotion of the best-case possible.