Are British Airways pilots going on strike? Why trade union Balpa is preparing 2022 walk out - and BA response

BA has warned that there may be disruption for passengers

More misery could be on the way for holidaymakers as British Airways pilots are preparing to strike in a dispute over pay.

Trade union Balpa is threatening there will be walkouts after airline chiefs rejected calls for a new pay deal as they insist their members deserve a pay rise.

It comes after people have already experienced huge issues trying to get away for their summer break, including cancelled flights, long airport queues and long delays at Dover port.

So, what exactly has Balpa said, when is the strike action planned for, and how has BA responded?

Here’s everything you need to know.

More misery could be on the way for holidaymakers as British Airways pilots are preparing to strike in a dispute over pay.

When will the strikes take place?

The union is preparing for industrial action, which could take place during summer, under growing pressure from members.

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle was warned during a meeting with pilot representatives last week that “only quantifiable actions would be acceptable”, according to The Telegraph.

However, an email said: "this did not happen".

No official strike date has yet been announced, but we’ll keep this article updated with more information as we get it.

Why has strike action been planned?

BA now pilots want a pay increase, two years after they agreed to a pay cut to mitigate job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In July 2020, they accepted a temporary cut of 20%, falling to 8% over the following two years, and that meant the number of job losses could be reduced from 1,255 to 270.

Pilots are asking for a pay increase rather than pay cuts.

A British Airways pilot typically earns about £75,000 a year but most receive flight allowances on top of this, while a captain can receive a much higher wage.

Pay is just one aspect that is up for discussion, however, with rosters and meal allowances also to be negotiated.

Ground handling crews stopped planned strike action last week after accepting an eight percent pay rise.

Meanwhile, staff working for refuelling companies from other rival airlines have been offered a 10% increase on wages.

What did the union say?

Speaking about the pay rise which has been offered to rival airlines, a union source said: “They did it by stomping their feet and having a ballot on strike action.

"’BA seems to ignore you until you issue a ballot,’ is the sentiment among members. Within Balpa we don’t usually like to do that.

"We would rather take a grown-up approach. But we are under enormous pressure. And the longer this goes on, the harder it gets.”

What have British Airways said?

BA said it remains committed to talks with unions, but added that any walkout is likely to cause widespread disruption for passengers.

What happens next?

Talks are ongoing between British Airways and Balpa.

Balpa recently wrote to airline chiefs saying the salary sacrifice scheme needs to be abandoned.

Martin Chalk, Balpa general secretary, said: “We are in talks with British Airways and wish to persuade them that continuing deductions from our members’ pay is unwarranted.

"We should actually be talking about pay increases given the inflationary scenario.

“Unless BA is prepared to walk with us down that road then we will have to consult with members to consider our next actions.”