British Airways has told its passengers not to turn up at airports as the biggest strike action in the airline’s 100-year history begins today, September 9, 2019.
The company was accused by union bosses of bullying its own staff. As a result, over 1,500 flights have been cancelled as union bosses have warned that they could continue the action until the end of the year.
About 280,000 people will be affected by the strike which is set to continue on Tuesday, costing the airline £80m in lost revenue.
BA and The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) are clashing after the union rejected a proposed 11.5 per cent pay rise for its pilots, taking their pay package to around £200,000 a year.
BALPA says that BA “has resorted to breaking agreements and threatening pilots who will strike, which is bound to make matters worse” after they emailed their 4,300 pilots on Friday warning that strike action would be a “serious breach” of their contract.
British Airways also threatened to withdraw a travel perk – where staff can book tickets for ten per cent of the full fare plus taxes – for three years if they chose to strike.
BALPA branded the airline’s behaviour “illogical and irresponsible” and “will further deepen the fall out with their pilots.”
Flights to New York, Delhi, Hong Kong and Johannesburg have all been affected, with the airline telling passengers: “If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport.”
Travellers have been offered other options, including full refunds, flights on different carriers, or the option to fly on a different date. But they have been warned not turn up at the airport without a confirmed flight.
British Airways said on Sunday: “We’re extremely sorry for the problems caused by the strike action called by the pilots’ union, BALPA on 9, 10 and 27 September.
“We continue to be available for constructive talks with BALPA, on the basis that there are no pre-conditions to those talks.
“If you have a flight booked with us on those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel as planned due to BALPA’s strike action. We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.”