BMIBaby pilots to vote on strike action over pay

Pilots at low-cost airline BMIBaby are to be balloted on strike action in a row over pay, threatening travel chaos at airports around the August bank holiday.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said its members at the airline – the low-frills division of BMI – will vote from today on whether to take industrial action.

The union also gave the company seven days’ notice that pilots at the main BMI airline, as well as its regional arm, would also be balloted unless the dispute was resolved.

The rows are separate but all include opposition from the union to the “imposition” of a 2.4% pay rise.

Other areas of conflict include plans to increase pension contributions from 10% to 18.5%, which Balpa said would be the highest in the aviation industry.

The ballot results will be known on 16 August, raising the prospect of action around the busy bank holiday weekend.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of Balpa, said: “The imposition of the pay increase and the imposition of the higher contribution to the pension scheme, without any meaningful consultations, is a disgrace.

“Taking industrial action, especially around the August bank holiday, is the last thing we want, but we are driven to it. We have tried reason and now we have nowhere else to turn.”

BMI confirmed it had been notified by the union of the ballot. A spokesman said: “This follows the rejection by Balpa of a 2.4% pay award that has been implemented and paid to all other employee and union groups within BMI Group.

“BmiBaby management remain hopeful that its pilots will reject the ballot and accept the award that all other employees have received.”

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