Summer 'agony' for holidaymakers as major airline strike looms after 'pilots reject bumper pay rise'

13 May 2024, 05:52

An Easyjet strike would cause chaos for passengers
An Easyjet strike would cause chaos for passengers. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Holidaymakers could face chaos this summer, after pilots for a major airline voted to reject a pay rise - which could lead to strike action.

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Easyjet pilots rejected a deal that would have lifted wages to nearly £200,000 per year.

That means their union BALPA will go back to negotiating with Easyjet, with the threat of industrial action a possibility.

Pilots who have ten years' experience earn around £164,000 currently, and the new deal would have raised that to £190,000 in October and close to £200,000 next April.

Senior first officers would have got around £112,000 - a £20,000 pay rise - under the new deal, while first officers would have seen a pay rise to about £75,000, the Sun reported.

Read more: Most Virgin Atlantic pilots have seen a tired colleague make mistakes as they fear staff 'not fit to work'

Read more: Pilots suspended after falling asleep for half an hour during flight

An easyJet Airbus A320 landing at Luton Airport in England , Britain , Uk
An easyJet Airbus A320 landing at Luton Airport in England , Britain , Uk. Picture: Alamy

A source told the newspaper: "BALPA has already sounded out members about strike action

"They are holding all the cards and the airline knows it.

“Bosses need to find even more money for pilots, or jets won’t get off the ground this summer and holidaymakers face travel agony."

EasyJet said: "We are disappointed that the outcome of the ballot for the pay deal fell short of the 50 per cent required.

“We will be meeting with Balpa over the coming days to discuss next steps."

Easyjet
Easyjet. Picture: Alamy

Last summer, BALPA mooted the possibility of a strike for pilots working with Virgin Atlantic, amid claims staff were overworked.

Some 96% of pilots at the airline voted for strike action.

Miranda Rackley, BALPA's interim general secretary, said: "There are serious concerns relating to pilot fatigue and wellbeing around scheduling and rostering arrangements".

A spokesperson for Virgin said: "The health, safety and security of our people and customers is our number one priority. We operate a comprehensive, data driven, Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) with regulatory oversight, operating well above industry standards.  

"We carefully analyse and manage working and fatigue levels to ensure the wellbeing of our pilots and the safety of our operation at all times. ​Our pilots only fly when they are fit to fly. It is their duty as well as ours. Virgin Atlantic is one of the safest airlines in the industry and we will defend our reputation fiercely."

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