Two days ago, British Airways flight operations were grounded as a result of an industrial action organised by British Airlines Pilots’ Association (BALPA) over pay disputes. The pilots have now resumed flight operations to various destinations affected by the strike action, Nigeria inclusive.
This was made known by the British Airways General Manager in Nigeria, Kola Olayinka, who confirmed the decision of the pilots to sheath their swords and resume flight operations in earnest. He stated that the strike ended yesterday by 5pm and normalcy was expected to return today, fully.
“The strike by BALPA ends today (Tuesday, September 10) by 5pm, so all flights would commence with immediate effect. All flights are operating tonight (September 10) out of Lagos by 10.30pm and out of Abuja tomorrow (September 11) morning,” Olayinka said.
Economic effect: The two-day mass action cost the airline an estimated £40 million a day which took place for the first time in 100 years of its existence. Recall that Nairametrics reported that the strike would last two days – September 9 and 10, causing a cancellation of 1,700 flights and a disruption for 195,000 passengers.
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Crux of the matter: In their defence, the Airline offered a pay rise of 11.5% to the aggrieved pilots for three years and promised a raise of £200,000 for captains, however, these offers were met with dissatisfaction as the Pilots felt they deserved better, asking for an even bigger chunk of the company’s profits.
British Airways noted the pilots’ past sacrifice of taking pay cuts for the good of the company including salary cuts, pension cuts and total forfeiture of leave allowance. Notwithstanding, the Airline believes the strike action was BALPA’s way of forcing it to grant an astronomical salary increase, alongside juicy welfare packages since the company is now recording profits of £2 billion a year.
“We understand the frustration and disruption that the BALPA strike action have caused our customers. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.
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“We remain ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA. Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100% of our flights.”
A fight to the finish: British Airways Pilots are still not done with their threats of industrial action that grounded the airline and forced it to lose £80 million in two days as a final strike has been scheduled for 27 September.
In conjunction with the BALPA, the pilots have called the airline to address their complaints immediately through negotiating before 27 September, approximately two weeks from now.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said, “Surely any reasonable employer would listen to such a clear message, stop threatening and bullying, and start working towards finding a solution.”
A statement from British Airline read: “The nature of our highly complex, global operation means that it will take some time to get back to a completely normal flight schedule however, we plan to fly more than 90% of our flights today.”