Nearly All British Airways Flights Cancelled As Pilots Strike, What Can You Do When Staff Take Action?
The first-ever strike by British Airways (BA) pilots is expected to be the biggest walkout in the airline’s history, causing disruption for tens of thousands of travellers. Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have a long-running dispute over pay, and “almost all” UK and international departures scheduled for Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled. With more than 4,000 pilots not going to work on Monday and Tuesday, BA is going to have to cancel most of the approximately 800 flights it would normally expect to run each day.
Pilots have rejected a pay rise from
BA worth 11.5% over the next three years, saying it is not in line with the healthy financials being enjoyed by the company. They argue that they accepted far lower pay rises when the IAG-owned firm was not doing so well, but the airline has said the pilots enjoy “world-class” salaries that are “fair and generous”. By the end of the three years, BA says the average captain would be earning more than £200,000 a year.
What must employers be aware of regarding unions and strikes? What rights do your employees have? What rights do you have as an employer? Our Legal Consultant, Enrique Garcia, explains:
If any workers are considering strike action then they need to be mindful that there are strict rules to follow and any failure to follow the rules could result in an injuction preventing the strike and compensation to the company for any lost earnings When a strike is lawfully arranged and follows all the rules then there are protections available for the employees lawfully participating Dismissing employees for taking part in lawful strikes is an automatically unfair dismissal Employers cannot legally use agency workers to cover striking workers
In Britain, the right to strike is governed by complex and restrictive industrial action laws. In summary, to count as ‘protected industrial action’, a strike must:
Relate to a work dispute with your own employer Be supported by a valid secret postal ballot with independent scrutiny, in which at least of half the balloted workers have voted (in other words, “not voting” counts as a vote against the strike) Be carried out with notice
In addition, strikes involving workers who provide what the government calls an “important public service” can only be lawful if at least 40% of the workers balloted over the action vote in favour of it. There are also strict rules for any picketing to be lawful. As long as industrial action meets the strict requirements set by the law, the union and its officials are protected from most forms of legal action, and employees have some protection against dismissal. But your employer is entitled to refuse pay for the duration of your strike action, even if it’s lawful.
If you would like to get in touch to discuss whether your workplace strike is valid and what you can do if your employees take strike action, get in touch with a
member of our team.