MIAMI – British Airways (BA) Pilots agreed to approve a deal that would temporarily slash jobs and wages. The package is designed to prevent further redundancies.

BALPA announced that there will be about 270 workers without jobs and temporary wage cuts beginning at 20%. This percentage will decline to 8% in the next two years before falling to zero in the longer term.

The news came from the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). The union said its members voted by 85% in favor of the deal.

The package negotiated by BALPA was in response to BA’s formal announcement of 1,255 pilot job losses. BA also threatened the remaining Pilots with its fire and rehire scheme.

Comments from BALPA

Brian Strutton, general secretary at BALPA said, “Our members have made a pragmatic decision in the circumstances. But the fact that we were unable to persuade BA to avoid all compulsory redundancies is bitterly disappointing.”

BA shareholder International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) was recently criticized by unions and MPs. IAG’s proposal was to cut the jobs of a total of 12,000 employees. It cited poor cash flow and the coronavirus pandemic as a cause.

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz. Photo: British Airways

Comments from British Airways

An airline spokesperson said that this was an incredibly difficult time for everyone at BA. “We are grateful to BALPA and our flight operations team for the work they have done to reach this agreement…”

“Today’s financial results show the enormous challenge British Airways faces, said the spokesperson. He added that the impact of the global pandemic and government travel bans lowered demand for travel very significantly.

“We do not expect our company to return to 2019 levels of business until at least 2023…Therefore, we need to act now to reshape our company for a very different future.”