BA pilots claim retirement policy flies in the face of reason

A
group of 70 pilots and cabin crew are taking British Airways (BA) to Employment
Tribunal today, claiming the airline’s retirement age of 55 constitutes
discrimination.

The
group, some of whom worked for British Caledonian when it was taken over by BA
in 1988, wants the original employer’s retirement age of 60 to continue to
apply to all employees at the airline.

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

Representing
the pilots, Paul Quain, of City law firm Charles Russell’s Employment and
Pensions Unit, said the group wants the retirement age at BA to be extended to
60 be in line with many other airlines in the UK and abroad.

“This
case again highlights the fact that age discrimination in the UK is not
illegal, and that when the EU directive eventually comes into force in 2006, it
will not apply to people who have suffered age discrimination before that
date,” he said.

By Quentin Reade

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