BA pilots call on unions to reject changes to pension scheme

British Airways (BA) pilots have urged their union to reject changes proposed by the airline to stem the company’s huge retirement fund deficit.

Last month, BA announced plans to force employees to work until 65 in return for a cash injection of £500m into the New Airways Pension Scheme – one of the airline’s three schemes. BA wants pilots to work until at least 60 and possibly to 65, depending on whether international laws change.

But in a meeting held late last week, members of the British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa) refused to back plans to raise their retirement age by up to 10 years and reduce their pension accrual rates, according to The Times.

Balpa’s executive will meet tomorrow to decide the union’s official stance. A Balpa spokesman said that the executive was not obliged to echo the feelings of members but it had never failed to do so.

He said that Balpa would inform BA of its reaction on Thursday and would then “try to find a solution”.

Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, has said that he is confident the airline will escape industrial action.

However, a pilot told The Times: “We will take industrial action to protect our interests. At this point, our and BA’s interests are becoming very divergent.”

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