Fresh BA ballot expected; pension agreement reached

22 Jun 2010 by BusinessTraveller

The Unite union is expected to notfiy BA today of its intention to ballot members next Tuesday on further strike action, according to media reports. Meanwhile the carrier has reached an agreement with the trustees of its pension scheme to reduce deficits.

Unite has yet to officially confirm the latest ballot, but if correct it raises the prospect of walkouts during the peak summer season. BA crew members have so far staged 22 days of strike action this year.

BA’s CEO Willie Walsh has said the airline expects to operate 100 per cent of BA’s long-haul schedule during the next potential wave of strikes.

In other news BA has reached an agreement with the trustees of its New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS) and Airways Pension Scheme (APS) on a recovery plan to address the schemes’ £3.7 billion deficit.

The agreement will avoid the closure of the schemes, and will see BA continue to contribute £330 million per year to address the deficit, along with further contributions should the airline’s year-end cash balance exceed £1.8 billion.

The agreement is key to the forthcoming merger with Iberia, as the Spanish carrier is entitled to terminate the merger “if the pension recovery plan is not, in Iberia’s reasonable opinion, satisfactory because it would be materially detrimental to the economic premises of the proposed merger”. Iberia now has three months to reach a decision on the pension recovery plan.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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