Airlines across Europe have called for strikes and walkouts, as issues regarding low pay and workplace inequality come to a head. In late May, Italian airline Alitalia pulled out a large chunk of its services from Italian airports, resulting in numerous flight cancellations across the country.
Reports indicate that employees of British Airlines and EasyJet too may be on the brink of a walkout. Passengers across the world have been advised to book their flights with care, as delays and cancellations are anticipated in the months to follow.
British Airlines may soon be pilot less
Pilots employed at British Airlines have called their compatriots to vote on a walkout, following BA’s refusal to hike employee salaries. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), which is a trade association that represents the rights of UK-based pilots, have initiated a ballot to identify how many employees wish to stage a strike against BA. Sources from BALPA state that discussions with British Airlines have remained unfruitful and the company has withdrawn the offers it had made to its pilots.
Apart from BALPA, other unions like GMB and Unite the Union, are also in discussions with their pilot-members, to find a feasible solution to the problem. While they are still days away from discussing voting, GMB and Unite have confirmed that they too may follow BALPA’s lead if BA doesn’t provide them with an alternate offer.
When asked for a comment, a British Airlines spokesperson stated that the company was very disappointed that the matter has reached the stage of an industrial ballot. He also confirmed that BA is one of the highest paymasters in the UK airline industry and their compensation & benefits packages have been decided mindfully. The spokesperson urged BALPA to reconsider the industrial ballot and pursue the mediation and reconciliation remedies offered by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). In terms of passenger inconvenience, the British Airlines spokesperson remained regretful of the outcome and stated that alternative arrangements were in the pipeline.
EasyJet employees demand equal treatment
Discussions regarding strikes and walkouts are also being heard from the employees of another airline.
EasyJet, which is one of the most-booked airlines in the UK, has received much flak for its poor employee management practices. Airline staff have already completed a ballot. The vote, which closed on July 2nd 2019, was intended to understand employees’ consensus for a strike.
According to inside sources, EasyJet employees working at Stobart Aviation experience unequal treatment at the hands of the airline. Reports state that while EasyJet employees at London Stansted Airport receive annual salary hikes and are paid for overtime labour, their counterparts at Stobart Aviation are paid 20% lesser salaries for the same job and are often unpaid for overtime work. The Stobart employees also stated that EasyJet did not provide any basic amenities for employees on-the-job, like drinking water and coffee/tea.
Currently, EasyJet employees are in talks with trade unions like Unite and GMB, regarding critical issues like workplace equality, equal pay and equal opportunities. While the company is yet to respond to staff questions and requests, they have confirmed that they’re making alternative arrangements for passengers, to ensure their holiday travel plans remain unhampered.