David Prosser: Strike one for BA in battle with unions
Wednesday 17 March 2010
Outlook British Airways may not have reached a deal with cabin crew staff to prevent this weekend's strikes, but it did manage yesterday to come to an agreement with unions over the separate matter of pension contributions. And in the longer term, this is an accord that may prove much more significant for the airline's chances of survival.
All three of BA's main unions have said they will recommend to members a deal that will require staff contributing to the airline's two final salary pension schemes to increase what they pay into the plan if they want to continue qualifying for the same levels of benefits.
There will be staff who baulk at such a demand, but BA has, in fact, been much more generous on pensions than many other employers. It was late to join the trend to close its final salary scheme to new joiners and it is not following the lead of the increasingly large number of employers that are also shutting such plans for existing members.
Given the £3.7bn deficit in BA's pension schemes, some kind of compromise with staff had to be achieved. Indeed, the agreement outlining the airline's potentially transformational merger with Iberia gives the Spanish airline the right to walk away from the deal should BA find itself unable to come to an agreement with the Pensions Regulator on how it reduces the shortfall.
Yesterday's deal then, assuming the unions are able to sell it to their members, could remove the only potential stumbling block for the Iberia merger. So while the arrangement was overshadowed by the continuing argy-bargy with cabin crew, BA's management will have been quietly delighted to pull it off.
No rest for the wicked though. There's a strike to plan for, after all.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...
£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...
£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...