Dispute over British Airways pension plan
Ground staff for British Airways (LSE: BAY; NYSE: BAB) voted on Monday to reject management’s offer of a pensions plan that had the company putting in £280 million for the next decade plus a one-time contribution of £800 million, with employees expected to contribute £400 million in altered future benefits. The alterations would include such measures as a raised retirement age.
With 70 percent of GMB members voting, the vote was 68 percent to 32 percent to reject the deal. The main reason for the rejection was a perception that the plan gave preference to pilots at the expense of other employees. The pilots’ union has recommended the deal to its members, while the T&G, which represents 20,000 of BA’s staff, is still consulting with members before issuing a recommendation.
The rejection came despite an announcement last week from BA that negotiations had ended with acceptance of the offer by pension fund trustees. A spokesman for BA said that the company’s chief executive will meet with the general secretary of GMB today to talk about the vote but that the company’s position is that a joint committee of the unions had agreed to the new plan and that the period of consultation had concluded.
GMB’s negotiator said that the union does not want to cause any inconvenience to the public and will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the airline, but that if negotiations are not successful he could not rule out an action of some sort in the future.