British Airways pilots prepare for strike

Pilots at British Airways are preparing for a long strike over their pension scheme.

Submitted by Steven. on February 13, 2006

The company will announce plans by the end of March to cut the cost of its main pension scheme which has a deficit of at least £900m.

BA is expected to take measures such as higher employee contributions, older retirement ages or lower pensions benefits. Pilots are especially concerned that the company may change from the current 'final salary' pension scheme to one based on average salary over years of service - which could result in cuts of up to 1/3rd.

BA has been pushing the seriousness of the pension scheme deficit in over 900 briefing sessions to 14,000 staff, but has failed to mention that the deficit is the company's fault.

Balpa stated:
"The deficit is a debt to the fund that the company has to honour, just like a loan from a bank. They (BA) incurred the deficit, they have to meet it. We will do whatever it takes to defend these pensions".

Last week BA announced a 29 percent increase in operating profit for the last the months, up to £175m from £136m a year ago. If the strike goes ahead, it looks likely to go on for some time over the spring/summer period.