Nigerians brace for BA pilots’ strike

  • Crisis to cost airline £120m

 Nigerians are bracing up for planned British Airways strike that is expected to disrupt flights in and out of Nigeria.
As a result, travellers and travel agents are working round the clock to see how they can reschedule or cancel their clients’ flights within that period in what may cost the British carrier around £120 million.
The airline operates services to Lagos and Abuja with daily flights to the two cities amounting to 14 frequencies.
Managing Director of Flyboku, Mr. Abiola Lawal, said it was going to be tough for both travellers and travel agents, who had pre-booked their flights.
He said he was confident the airline would find a solution to the problem to ameliorate the crisis, adding that labour issues at times spiral beyond the control of airlines.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) on Sunday announced that British Airways pilots would embark on strike on September 9, September 10, and September 27, 2019.
This follows the pilots’ voting overwhelmingly for industrial action back in July. The reason this has been so drawn out is because British Airways took the union to court, and the court voted in favour of the union. Then British Airways tried to appeal the decision, and failed again.
However, it wasn’t a total loss for British Airways, since it seems like their primary goal may have just been to delay the strike, which they succeeded with.

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During negotiations, the union put forward a number of packages that they believe would have resolved the dispute without a strike. They say that British Airways didn’t accept any of these packages, and it’s clear that the current offer wouldn’t gain support from a majority of pilots.
With 93 per cent of pilots voting in favour of industrial action, and with no further meaningful talks, the union has no choice but to organize the strike.
It’s claimed that the strike will cost British Airways around £40m per day, meaning that the three day strike will cost the airline around £120m.
The union claims — and I’m highly sceptical of this — that the gap between British Airways’ position and the union’s position is about £5m. British Airways has about 4,000 pilots, so we’re talking about £1,250 per pilot. I can’t imagine that this is actually what this comes down to.
The union’s proposal remains on the table should British Airways wish to reach an agreement prior to the start of the strike.

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This is the first time that British Airways’ pilots will ever go on strike. The ballot is valid until January, so more dates could be announced until this is resolved.
British Airways says that it’s completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of travellers.
British Airways says that they will be making changes to their schedule, and will do what they can to get as many people to their destinations as possible. For those they can’t help, British Airways will offer refunds and re-bookings.

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British Airways says that their proposed deal of an 11.5 per cent pay raise over three years is fair and well above the UK’s inflation rate.
Management says that they continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action.

British Airways has called the strikes planned by pilots completely unacceptable. The airline says that “tens of thousands” of its passengers will be affected by the strike action. The action is likely to delay and cancel flights to and from the airline’s London hubs.
The airline says that it is exploring every avenue in order to minimize disruption to passengers. It specifically mentioned that it is trying to secure wet-lease aircraft for use on strike days. This would mean that the airline pays another airline to operate its flight with their crew and aircraft.

Wole Shadare