Pilots defer pay to save jobs

Nearly
400 pilots at Manchester-based Air 2000 have voted to save 50 pilot jobs by
taking a temporary deferral in pay, which will be given back to them later in
the year.

Air
2000 had initially said it needed to make 77 pilots redundant and demote 38
captains to first officers, saving the airline £3.2 million.

The
pilots, members of the British Air Line Pilots’ Association (Balpa), responded
by agreeing an alternative plan with the company which would save money and save
some of the jobs.

Under
the agreement there will be 32 pilot job losses, the demotion of 16 captains
and a five per cent temporary pay deferral of monthly salary, to be repaid by
the company in the summer. The second year of their current two year pay deal
will be cancelled.

However
as well as getting the pay deductions back, the pilots will also have their
salary scales restored in April next year and there will be new pay talks early
in the summer. Captains who are demoted will be reappointed as captains as soon
as possible.

"This
means that we will save some 50 pilot jobs and greatly reduce the number of
demotions," said Balpa principal negotiating officer Roger Kline.

"So
under the agreed plan, 32 pilots will be made redundant, not 77, with a saving
of 45 jobs," said Kline. "But I believe we can save more than that.
We should save at least 50 because another part of the agreement is for pilots,
if they wish, to work part time for part pay or to take unpaid sabbatical leave
. We know some pilots are interested and for every two pilots who go on part
time and for every pilot who takes a sabbatical we save one full time
job."

Christopher Darke, general secretary of Balpa, said,
"We’re delighted the company is backing our alternative plan. We’ve been
imaginative in dealing with the redundancy problem. Pilots wanted to share the
pain and, in the process, save jobs. That’s what they are doing. All credit to
them, and all credit to the company for having the courage to take this path
with us. This surely is the way forward for the whole of British
industry."

By Ben Willmott

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