1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
US and Australian pilots have told their British Airways (BA) counterparts to stop the airline outsourcing jobs for its planned OpenSkies subsidiary to less highly trained and lower paid pilots.
At a meeting of pilots at Heathrow, members of the Allied Pilots Association (APA) in the US and the Australian International Pilots” Association (AIPA) warned BA employees ” currently being balloted for strike action - of their own experiences.
”Don't do what we did,” said APA member Rob Baker. ”We now desperately wish we had opposed outsourcing at the outset.”
He said that American Airlines subsidiary, American Eagle, started with 16 aircraft but now has more than 300 - and as a result, mainline pilots have been forced to accept heavy pay cuts.
President of the AIPA, Captain Ian Woods, said Qantas started its subsidiary Jet Star with a handful of aircraft yet, with huge investment and outsourced pilots, it is growing fast. Qantas pilots have not suffered pay cuts as yet, he pointed out, but are losing work with routes being switched from Qantas to Jet Star.
”You are absolutely right to bite the bullet now while the bullet is mouth size,” he said.
BA plans to start OpenSkies with six aircraft, but Balpa believes that the venture cannot be profitable without many more planes. Association general secretary Jim McAuslan said that around the world, major airlines are setting up subsidiaries which start small but which rapidly expand using outsourced pilots, following which mainline pilots get pay cuts to the levels of the subsidiary.
”We are fighting to prevent it happening here in Britain. We are saying to BA that we are drawing a line in the sand,” he said.
”The company will use a poorer paid, pilot force as a trojan horse to beat down the pay and conditions of its current pilot employees. We have seen the evidence and what BA proposes is an attack on current pilots and their families. That is why we are vigorously opposing this outsourcing. OpenSkies will be using BA planes and they should be crewed by BA pilots.”
Balloting for strike action among BA”s 3,200 pilots finishes on Wednesday (20 February), at which point Balpa confidently expects a ”yes” vote for strikes.