BA and unions agree a deal over pensions

BRITISH Airways and trade unions came to an agreement yesterday on plans to reduce the airline’s £3.7bn pension deficit.

The proposals will see staff given the chance to either receive lower benefits and keep their current levels of contribution or opt out to pay 4.5 per cent extra to maintain their current pensions benefit.

The agreement reached between the airline and unions Unite, British Air Line Pilots Association and the GMB is intended to avoid closure of the pension scheme and to maintain BA’s contributions at £330m per year.

News of the agreement comes as BA and Unite continue to lock horns over a proposed strike set to commence this weekend.

Early yesterday Unite urged BA to restart strike talks but only if the airline reinstated a package of measures it proposed last week that could save 184 jobs. BA rejected the offer saying that the union had not suggested it would recommend the offer to its members.

Unite is looking to crank up the pressure on BA by meeting its US counterpart, Teamsters, today. Teamsters said it would “stand in solidarity” with Unite last night.

Analysts have calculated that if all flights were cancelled this weekend, BA would lose £20m over the three-day strike period. The airline plans to fly 60 per cent of flights over the weekend, including 50 per cent of long haul flights out of Heathrow.

Meanwhile, rival airline Virgin Atlantic has been named as the official carrier for England’s football team during the World Cup.

BA staff can receive lower future benefits and keep current levels of contribution.
BA staff can also opt to pay an extra 4.5 per cent to maintain their exisiting pension benefit.
The deal will ease merger talks with Iberia.