British Airways pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action this summer.
Passengers due to travel on holiday could face major disruption after 93% of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) voted in favour of industrial action on a 90% turnout.
Pilots have rejected a pay rise worth 11.5% over three years, described by the airline as “fair and generous”.
But Balpa has argued that its members deserve a better offer, as the airline has been making healthy profits.
General secretary, Brian Strutton, 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.”
BA is due to go to the High Court today (Tuesday) to seek an injunction against Balpa to stop the strike action.
Balpa said the attempt to injunct the industrial action means further negotiations are on hold.
It said it does not have dates for any potential strike action and will issue an update on this in “due course”.
“We remain hopeful that this dispute can be resolved before strike action, but we remain committed to action if necessary,” the union added.
The airline said: “We are very disappointed that Balpa has chosen to threaten the travel plans of thousands of our customers.
“We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to protect our customers’ travel plans and avoid industrial action.”
But Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which?, said: “This potential disruption comes at the worst possible time for millions of people getting ready to head off for hard-earned summer breaks – so it is vital for BA to plan ahead and make sure they have the staff and capacity to minimise the impact on passengers.
“If a strike by airline staff causes severe delays or cancellation, passengers may be entitled to substantial compensation payouts, as well as assistance and a refund or re-routing, depending on circumstances.”
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