British Airways pilots vote to go on strike. Injunction proceedings to begin. Likely to be moot.

As mentioned in my article a few days ago, British Airways pilots who are members of the BALPA union underwent a ballot to vote for or against strike action.

The Result

The results are in. 93% vote in favour of industrial action on a 90% turnout. So the earliest strike date according to statute is 2 weeks from tomorrow, meaning 6th August 2019 is the earliest possible date.

Negotiations were hinged around an 11.5% base salary increase over 3 years which is actually less than the headline suggests as pilots are paid travel allowances as significant proportion of their total pay package.

According to BALPA's press release, Brian Strutton, the General Secretary said:

“This strong result demonstrates the resolve of BA pilots, and shows BA that it must table a sensible improved offer if a strike is to be averted. Sadly three days of ACAS talks have not moved the company’s position one iota. Settlement of this dispute is in BA’s hands.

We do not wish to inconvenience our customers which is why we have tried to resolve this matter through negotiation starting last November – it is BA who has regrettably chosen to drag this out into the summer months.”

Tomorrow, on Tuesday 23rd July, British Airways are going to begin proceedings at the High Court for an injunction over whatever irregularities over the ballot they may find. This is only likely to delay any strike rather than avoid it if history is anything to go by.

Yours truly and Kevin from Economy Class and Beyond at the controls. But we won't be able to help you because we are not pilots. And we don't work for British Airways.

What this means for you

Since the formal notice of the strike has not yet been given, every day that passes should be another day before the 14 day countdown begins.

Given the amount of passengers likely to be affected, you probably won't be able to be accommodated onto non-BA flights. So the likely result here is you will have your flight cancelled and refunded.

Rhys from Head for Points mentioned that EU261 compensation should be applicable due to a CAA vs Ryanair ruling, although I cannot find any reference to its result, only that action had started in December 2018. Given the short time (in legal scale) since the case was presented I am fairly certain nothing has yet emerged from it. Therefore you should assume you will NOT get EU261 compensation. (Someone with updated evidence please do correct me if I am wrong though!)

This story is far from over so expect a few twists and turns before any British Airways strikes begins in earnest. As mentioned you will have a 2 week notice before anything happens. In the meantime you can enjoy the confirmed Heathrow ones.

About Tim

Tim Lai is a Chartered Engineer and a typical nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack and is one of the world's leading travel experts. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. He has been featured on the likes of CNN, BBC and also broader websites websites like Nomad Capitalist for his deep knowledge of EU travel laws. An accredited journalist, he is happy to speak to other journalists who need expertise on travel topics.

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Comments

  1. It seems to me that EC261 monetary compensation is given only in the event of a cancellation/delay with less than 14 days’ notice. Given that BALPA has to give 14 days’ notice themselves, I imagine BA will manage to get most of their refunds and rebookings in in time to avoid having to pay out compensation.

    I do think they’ll forgo rebooking/refunding some at the 14 day mark – they can probably get some crew on shorter notice, and other airlines will probably add flights onto which they can rebook those passengers cheaply (accounting for delay compensation, when it applies). It’s anyone’s guess how many they’ll do that for.

  2. We are scheduled to fly ba Mia to lhr on September 1 returning the end of September. We have a cruise also during that time. What are the chances our flights will be cancelled and will ba compensate for the cruise. We fly first class. Thank you.

    • 1) Is your cruise part of the same flight package, or booked separately?
      2) What airline are you flying? BA presumably or is it a codeshare?
      3) BA strike dates are not yet announced so it’s not possible to say whether 1st September will be affected yet, sorry.

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