This summer has felt like the season of non-stop, stop-start UK strikes action, but unfortunately, it isn’t over, with British Airways strikes and more planned for September.
Industrial action across airlines, rail and the Tube are set to continue into the autumn.
City A.M. gives you the low-down on how you might be affected during September.
UK strikes: Airlines
British Airways strikes
British Airways has had an almighty battle with its pilots who are members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa).
Last month the airline lost a bid to prevent its pilots from striking. Balpa has since announced that it will strike on the 9, 10 and 27 September.
Ninety-three per cent voted in favour of taking the three days of industrial action, which Balpa estimates will cost the airline in the region of £120m.
BA hit back at what it described as a “reckless course of action” and said it was in the process of making changes to its schedule.
“It is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights,” it said.
Flights on BA CityFlyer from London City Airport, SUN-AIR and Comair will not be affected by the British Airways strikes.
BA said it would contact those affected by email with information on how they can get a refund or rebook their flights. It will be in touch with those affected by the late September action in the next few weeks, it said.
Affected customers can contact the airline by calling 0800 727 800 if they booked flights directly or use the British Airways portal online.
BA has advised those who booked with travel agents to contact their agent rather than BA itself.
Those with September flights that have been cancelled can request a full refund or re-book a flight within the next 355 days.
The airline has drafted in an additional 90 members of staff to deal with the high volume of customer calls, meaning 690 BA workers are now on deck to deal with impending pilots strike.
The airline said it had handled just under 75,000 calls so far, and 65,000 tweets, while there has been 382, 742 hits on the strike page of its website. It says its customer contact centre continues to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that 100 staff members will be monitoring Twitter to handle social media complaints.
BA said in a statement: “We’re extremely sorry that some of our customers are having difficulties trying to re-arrange their flights. Our teams have been working tirelessly to help as many of our customers as possible, in these unprecedented circumstances.
“Our teams have been providing our customers with as many options as possible, as quickly as possible, including a full refund or re-booking to a different date of travel or airline.”
The rhetoric between the two parties heated up again on 29 August as Balpa claimed it had “corrected BA’s spin” over whether or not talks were occurring.
“There are currently NO talks planned,” the pilots’ union said. Balpa said it had written to British Airways boss Alex Cruz to hear his proposals for reaching a resolution, but received no reply.
“It’s disappointing that Mr Cruz has not replied to us having promised to get involved,” Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said.
“This dispute will only be settled, and these strike will only be called off, when BA improve their offer enough to satisfy their pilots. Until BA indicate that they are willing to do that, there is absolutely no point in any talks.”
Ryanair pilots who are also members of Balpa are planning a walkout on 2 to 4 September in a row over pay and working conditions.
Ryanair also lost a court bid to prevent its pilots from striking, and last week its Balpa pilots launched a 48-hour strike. The walkout resulted in little disruption for Ryanair, thanks to the “volunteerism of the vast majority of our UK-based pilots”.
As well as the UK industrial action, Ryanair is also battling 10 days of strikes by its cabin crew in Spain. They will walk out on 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 of September.
Ryanair pilots have since confirmed the strikes next week will go ahead. Balpa is set to organise walkouts Monday, 2 September, Tuesday 3 September and Wednesday 4 September.
But billionaire Michael O’Leary’s airline has said on Twitter that it expects no impact on flights on the affected days as non-Balpa pilots are set to turn up for work.
Ryanair tweeted: “We do not expect any pilot strike disruptions to our schedule to/from our UK airports on Mon 2nd, Tues 3rd & Wed 4th Sept next week.
“All Ryanair flights to/from UK airports [on those dates] will operate as scheduled thanks to the efforts of over 95% of our UK pilots who have confirmed that they will work their rosters, and will not support this failed 3rd BALPA strike action.”
The airline added that Balpa has refused to resume negotiations to call off the strike action.
UK strikes: Rail
South Western Railway (SWR) is to be hit by four days of strike action from this Friday in the ongoing row over guard safety, the RMT rail union announced this morning.
Guards and drivers who are members of the union have been told not to go to work from 12.01am on Friday 30 August to 11.59pm on Monday 2 September.
There will be a reduced service on the Friday, Saturday and Monday, while the train firm is still working out its plans for the Sunday. On some routes there will be no trains and no bus replacement services available.
UK strikes: Tube
Thousands of Londoners face Tube chaos at the beginning of next month after the RMT rail union announced strike action on two of the busiest Underground lines – the Central and Victoria lines.
London Underground and Night Tube operators, as well as instructors at several depots, have been told not to book on for shifts from 8pm on Tuesday 3 September to 8pm on Wednesday 4 September, due to a breakdown in industrial relations.
The Tube operators were originally scheduled to strike in late August.
Transport for London says it “remains available for talks at any time”.
All images credited to Getty