Jet2 faces union accusations of “unsustainable” pilot shift rosters during the peak summer flying period.
Pilots’ union Balpa claims the leisure carrier could face “the potential risk of significant pilot fatigue and health issues”.
The airline says it has introduced improved rosters and recruited a “considerable number” of extra pilots “over and above operational requirements” across the nine UK airports it operates from.
Unusually, union members say they want the airline to recognise the need for improved work-life balance through fairer rostering patterns, rather than a pay rise.
The Jet2 pilot union representatives have launched a campaign ‘Not a penny more, not an hour less’ to show the company that, rather than pay, roster disruption and increased fatigue are now “crucial issues” that must be addressed.
Pilots are seeking to improve the way in which rosters are managed and allocated at the carrier, which took delivery of its 100th aircraft in February.
Balpa national officer Terry Brandon said: “Jet2 pilots feel loyal to the company but are becoming increasingly frustrated at the way in which their shifts are rostered, and often subsequently changed, particularly in the summer months, which we believe is unsustainable.
“This is why pilots are saying that, for this year’s pay claim, they would actually be happy to keep pay the same but urge the company to review rostering.
“We appeal to Jet2 to listen to the pilots’ representative body now – to listen to its pilots – and implement the demand for basic roster protections that protect the health of our members during the busy summer season or the airline could face the potential risk of significant pilot fatigue and health issues.”
A spokesman for the airline said: “Balpa are aware of the considerable efforts being made by Jet2.com to continuously improve our pilots’ roster stability, proactively reduce the risk of any fatigue, and generally support their welfare.
“We take such topics extremely seriously and therefore take expert independent advice on these matters and engage directly with all our pilots on a regular and constructive basis.
“Prior to and at a recent meeting with Balpa, we informed them of rostering improvements we have introduced for this summer and the considerable number of extra pilots that have been recruited over and above our operational requirements for this year and who will be allocated to each of our nine UK bases.
“This will improve everyone’s rosters and work-life balance in the face of increasingly common air traffic control disruptions and other challenges.
“Although Balpa refer to rostering being a priority over and above pay, we believe our pilots should benefit from improvements in both, and we have proposed an increase in pay for pilots this year which when added to an exceptional increase in October would mean a 9% pay rise within the past year.”
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