After nearly three months of negotiations, British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has reached a deal with British Airways (BA) that will keep over 1,200 pilots from losing their jobs but require 4,300 to accept pay cuts.

The deal consists of several key elements, one of which is voluntary part time working and severance by pilots. Another one proposes immediate 20% pay cuts that will be reduced to 8% over the next two years and then towards zero in the long term. A holding pool of equivalent of 300 pilots will be set up, ready to return to flying as demand reappears.

On an upside, there will be no “fire and rehire” practice employed by BA, a controversial trick that would push pilots to accept inferior terms or face a prospect to be rehired on even worse ones. An initial number of 1,255 redundancies was also reduced to just around 270, which is expected to shrink further. 

A consultation among the association’s members was opened on July 22, 2020. Pilots are free to vote on it until July 30, but the union’s press release says it is recommending to accept the terms as “the best that can be achieved in these incredibly difficult circumstances.”

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While in the past union relationships with Ryanair were tense, the pilot union BALPA shook hands with Ryanair to preserve jobs in the United Kingdom.