Airline staff to appeal over ‘lawful’ discrimination ruling

A group of 70 British Airways pilots and cabin crew are considering
appealing a decision by an Employment Tribunal that they suffered ‘lawful’
discrimination.

The group took their test case to tribunal this year to claim British
Airways’ retirement age of 55 constituted discrimination.

In its decision, the tribunal said that the women in the group had suffered
discrimination but that this was lawful on the grounds that the cost of
changing BA’s policy would have been too high.

Members of the group, some of whom worked for British Caledonian when it was
taken over by British Airways in 1988, argued that they wanted the original
employer’s retirement age of 60 to continue to apply to all employees at BA.

Any pilots or cabin crew employed after 1971, including those taken over
from British Caledonian, have to retire at 55, while the retirement age of
anyone employed before 1971 is 60.

Paul Quain of Charles Russell’s employment and pensions department, who is
representing the group, said: "Members of the group are obviously
disappointed by this initial decision. They just wanted the retirement age at
British Airways to be extended to 60 in common with many other airlines in the
UK and abroad.

"It is a highly complex case and it is very interesting to see the
tribunal accepts that the women, especially, had been subject to
discrimination, but that this was justified on the grounds of cost, and
therefore lawful," he said.

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