Thursday, March 23, 2006

Retirement age raised for BA crews

From the International Herald Tribune we learn that the retirement age for British Airways (BA) flight crew members is being raised. At present, BA crewmembers face compulsory retirement at age 55. Under the new plan, pilots would be allowed to work until age 60, and cabin crew could continue until age 65.

This move is strictly economic, geared to cutting the airline's budget deficit, which is said to be in the neighborhood of £1 billion.
"This is a solution that will provide competitive, affordable pensions for the future," Willie Walsh, the chief executive, said. Walsh said the new arrangement "means working longer to get a similar annual pension but one that is more secure." He added, "This should address the pension problem at British Airways once and for all."
Labor unions at BA are not happy with this announcement:
The Transport & General Workers Union, which represents 20,000 employees at the airline, criticized the plan and said it should have been given more information. The proposal "is both unfair and unacceptable and does not represent a starting point for negotiations," Brendan Gold, a national officer with the union, said. "This may be legal, but is morally wrong. This change alone has the effect of reducing existing pension pots by £13,300 on average."

Ed Blissett, a member of GMB, another union at BA, said the union was seeking urgent meetings with the airline to discuss the plan.
Read the International Herald Tribune article here.

More articles about the plan, and the unions' reaction to it:

BA's pension plan rejected - The Times

BA unions warn of action over plans to raise retirement age - The Independent

Unions attack BA plan to make staff work longer for lower pensions - The Guardian