Balpa union staff to go on strike in pensions dispute

Workers at pilots’ union British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa) have voted in favour of strike action next month in a dispute over pensions and salaries.

Thirty-three members of the GMB union working at the association have voted to take strike action on 2 July.

A war of words has now broken out between the two sides, with GMB officials accusing Balpa chiefs of “hypocrisy”.

The union said the dispute related to the closure of Balpa’s final salary pension scheme to new entrants, changes for existing members, and plans to impose a pay rise.

Talks between the two parties have so far failed to broker a deal. GMB organiser David Kent told Personnel Today’s sister title Flight International: “This is a disgraceful case of hypocrisy. There is no economic justification for these changes because Balpa is one of the most successful and financially-robust trade unions in the UK.

“No employer, let alone a trade union, should impose changes to terms and conditions of employment without the agreement of its own staff. Balpa would not tolerate such behaviour from an employer that it was dealing with, and GMB will not tolerate this from them.”

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: “We are naturally disappointed but, like all employers, we face a major shortfall in our defined benefit pension scheme, and are making major injections of cash over the next 10 years. This recovery plan has been agreed by the scheme’s trustees.”

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