British Airways threatens to sack all 4,300 of its pilots

It's coronavirus crunch time for the embattled British flag-carrier, which also wants to block UK quarantine plans.

By Bloomberg News, June 7 2020
British Airways threatens to sack all 4,300 of its pilots

British Airways has warned it will sack all of its 4300 pilots if it can't reach an agreement with unions over further job cuts as the airline starts a legal push to block the UK government's 14-day self-isolation plan for arrivals starting on Monday.

The airline told its pilots union that it would dismiss all of the company's 4300 pilots and rehire them on individual contracts unless the union reached an agreement with the carrier. The company, which is negotiating a planned reduction of 1130 roles represented by airline pilot union Balpa, sought another 125 pilot jobs on Wednesday, the union said in an email.

"This has seriously undermined our talks which now hang by a thread," Brian Strutton, the general secretary of the union, said in an email. "It calls into question whether BA is even capable of conducting industrial relations properly and whether anything they say can be trusted."

A spokesperson for the airline, which is working on cutting 12,000 jobs across the company, said in an email it's "acting now to protect as many jobs possible," adding that "the airline industry is facing the deepest structural change in its history, as well as facing a severely weakened global economy".

Concerned the self-isolation requirement would block its plans to restart services in July, British Airways' parent IAG sent a letter to the Home Office to start the process to block the quarantine, which could lead to a lawsuit, according to a copy of the letter seen by Bloomberg News.

The letter, also signed by Europe's two biggest discount carriers Ryanair and EasyJet, pointed to how the measures will apply to travelers from countries with lower infection rates than the U.K., and disproportionately affect those from England than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the letter showed.

The 14-day quarantine for travelers is also more stringent than the one for those who test positive for the virus, according to the letter. The carriers also pointed out that the U.K. is imposing the self-isolation on arrivals from countries that have a lower infection rate than the U.K.

"In our view, the government has failed to identify a valid justification for the blanket nature of the regulations, more especially given the extremely severe nature of the self-isolation provisions that apply," according to the letter.

The Home Office declined to comment on the potential legal action late Saturday. On Friday, James Slack, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, told reporters the government wants to work with the industry as the country moves through the pandemic.

British Airways' move came a day after IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said he was considering legal action to block the measure. Ryanair said on Friday it would support legal action by its rival. The quarantine is being introduced as carriers try to salvage the normally busy summer season.

If British Airways and the airlines push ahead with a legal challenge, a court proceeding known as a judicial review will be held in London's High Court. The transport sector isn't a stranger to a judicial review. Earlier this year, the procedure was used to force the government to take full account of climate change agreements over its plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The procedure allows members of the public and corporations to hold the government to account over policy decisions. The process is designed to weigh the lawfulness of how a government decision has been reached, rather than whether the decision is right or wrong. Public bodies that lose judicial review cases can make the same decision again as long as they do so using the right procedures.

Like airlines worldwide, IAG is slashing costs to contend with a historic drop in travel. Carriers in Europe have signaled plans to eliminate more than 50,000 positions since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, including 10,000 on Wednesday at Germany's Lufthansa.

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

Bloomberg News

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03 Feb 2018

Total posts 72

Gee, I wonder why HMG would want to enforce a 14 day quarantine for persons entering the UK??

It's, frankly, ludicrous that the UK didn't adopt such a measure much earlier than what. As a result of failing to do so, COVID has been able to run riot and taken many lives.

Pathetic of BA and the various other parties in tourism to have a tanty over this.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 342

I will never fly BA again if I can help it

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 188

OK. So we know how quarantine works in OZ right? EFFECTIVELY.

The UK version goes a little like this

- Firstly, we're gonna start it AFTER the worst is over and we rank #3 in the world (per capita) in terms of deaths.

- Secondly, when you land you are more than welcome to take public transport home to where you will quarantine. You are also welcome to use the shops etc.

- Thirdly, we will make random checks. These will be VIA PHONE and we will ask you where you are. (yes, for real).

- Fourthly - the rules only apply in England, not Scotland or Wales. And guess what?! There is no borders between england, scotland and wales. So you are welcome to fly internationally into Glasgow then jump on a train to London.

It's a sh*t show.

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