Some of Britain’s largest airlines engaged in wage negotiations with unions as they plan major cost cuts to survive
Some of Britain’s largest airlines are engaged in wage negotiations with unions as they plan major cost cuts to survive the winter.
Ryanair and BA are trying to implement major new cuts in pilot pay, The Mail on Sunday has understood. In some cases, pilots are asked to pay almost a fifth less.
Pilots’ union Balpa said Ryanair wanted pilots to work fewer hours in winter as it closes its two airport bases in Belfast and cuts schedules elsewhere in the UK.
In the air: Pilots face pay cuts of up to a fifth as airlines ax schedules
A newsletter sent from Balpa to Ryanair pilots last week, seen by The Mail on Sunday, said Ryanair was looking for a change in shifts so that pilots work fewer days and take more leave. A memo will be sent to Ryanair pilots this week asking for volunteers to go part-time. Last year, Ryanair pilots agreed a 20 percent pay cut to avoid 3,000 job cuts.
Meanwhile, pilots from BA’s CityFlyer subsidiary, based at London City Airport, rejected a request for a further pay cut in a vote that closed Friday. A newsletter, seen by The Mail on Sunday, said CityFlyer had asked pilots to take unpaid leave, which meant a 17 percent pay cut from Oct. 1 to March 31, and also cut pension contributions. CityFlyer set up its base in Edinburgh last summer, putting the jobs of 72 pilots at risk.
BA is in talks with unions about plans announced last week for a new short-haul airline at Gatwick, to be operated under a separate license, meaning it could lay down new working conditions for pilots and crew members.
Industry insiders suggest BA’s new airline could cut flights in the winter months, when demand for short-haul flights is lower.
Pilots could then be deployed for BA’s long-range ‘winter sun’ operations at Heathrow.
In an internal letter to staff last week, BA called any increase in costs after the leave was ‘bad news’. It said: ‘We know that our planning and operating costs for the rest of this year will be off. We will have to be as flexible as possible in our way of working.’
Sources said they expected travel giant Tui to begin talks with unions over winter cost savings in the coming weeks.
Pilots at Jet2 have made a 30 percent pay cut through April.
Gatwick lost £245 million in the first six months of 2021 and is trying to avoid further layoffs through cost-cutting measures such as extending the pay freeze, cutting pension contributions and ‘banking’ unworked hours to be paid at a later date. worked back.
A spokesperson said: “With the leave scheme ending at the end of September, we don’t have enough work for our 1,800 employees based on current travel trends.”
The TUC is lobbying the Treasury for an extension of the aviation leave scheme to prevent ‘a lot of layoffs’.
BA CityFlyer said: ‘We are working with Balpa to protect jobs, our future and stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.’
Ryanair did not respond to a request for comment.