Almost all British Airways (BA) flights were grounded by its first ever pilots strike on Monday, disrupting the travel plans of thousands of passengers in a dispute over pay.
The strike was called by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) amid a heated dispute over pay with the airline that shows no sign of abating. The union is demanding "less than £5m more than British Airways previously offered", adding that one day of strike action costs the airline approximately £40 million.
British Airways was forced to cancel virtually all flights for Monday and Tuesday after its pilots went on strike for the first time in the airline's history.
Balpa members who work at British Airways voted 93% in favour of industrial action; strikes are now planned for Monday 9, Tuesday 10 and Friday 27 September 2019. Other carriers associated with British Airways, including BA CityFlyer, Comair and Sun-Air were not affected.
The airline has offered an 11.5% pay raise over three years and would increase some pilot's salaries, including captains, to more than $240,000 a year.
British Airways logos are seen on tail fins at Heathrow Airport in London, February 23, 2018.
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"British Airways needs to wake up and realise its pilots are determined to be heard", BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton told BBC radio. The union is arguing that its members want a bigger share of the company's profits, and accuses British Airways of making big profits at the expense of workers who made sacrifices during hard times.
He said the union was willing to compromise, but BA was not prepared to "budge". Should no progress occur between airline and union, pilots will stage a third strike on September 27.
"Airlines will often reject passengers' claims for compensation by arguing that strikes are beyond the airline's control and that airlines are thus not responsible for paying for compensation", according to AirHelp, but "a flight disruption caused by airline staff strike is definitely eligible despite what the airline states".
Nearing the close of trading, IAG's share price was down 1.23 per cent at 424.8 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down 0.8 per cent overall.
"Customers were sent email notifications if they have been affected", British Airways said in an advisory to travel agents. If the alternative flight BA offer isn't at the right time for you, BA is legally required to book you on a comparable flight with them or an alternative airline.
During the strikes, BA must offer passengers reimbursement for cancelled flights, alternate travel arrangements under comparable conditions or a new flight at a later date.
The airline has also set up a dedicated page with information regarding the strikes.
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