British Airways pilots hold first general strike

British Airways has canceled almost 100 percent of flights due to a strike by pilots demanding an increase in wages.

British Airways pilots launched the first-ever British airline general strike. On Monday, September 9, the airline canceled almost 100 percent of flights from UK airports. A two-day strike could derail travel plans for nearly 300,000 people.

In the protest action on September 9-10, all 4.3 thousand pilots of the airline are involved, demanding an increase in wages. On the first day of the strike, most of the 850 scheduled flights can be canceled. According to the Financial Times, British Airways typically operates about 1,700 flights within 48 hours.

One day of the strike will cost British Airways £ 40 million, the British pilots ‘ Union BALPA said on Twitter on September 8. At the same time, disagreements between the Union and the airline regarding salary increases, according to BALPA, amount to 5 million.

The airline apologized to passengers for the inconvenience caused by the strike. “We are still ready and want to return to negotiations with BALPA,” the statement posted on Twitter said. A British Airways spokesperson told the Financial Times that the company had done everything possible to protect customers from further disruptions. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on September 6 urged the parties to return to the negotiating table and settle differences.

Similar protests BALPA plans to hold on September 27 and possibly before the winter holidays.

Negotiations between British Airways management and the BALPA Union have been going on for the last nine months. The Union rejected the airline’s July offer to increase pilot salaries by 11.5 percent over three years. According to British Airways, under this proposal, pilots would receive a salary of about 200 thousand pounds per year (in terms of about 220 thousand euros).