UK - British Airways has warned staff that going on strike would "seriously damage" the company as it is struggling under a large pension deficit.
A letter, which has been sent to thousands of baggage handlers, check-in staff and other workers who are threatening to strike over pay, points out that the scheme deficit is larger than last year’s pre-tax profits.
The letter – from BA operations director Mike Street – says: “There is a large shortfall in the UK pension fund. This has led to the company’s pension contribution rising by £133m a year – a 9% rise in employment costs – and puts our total annual pension contributions at £251m.
“This is not a short-term problem that will be fixed by a rise in the stock market. To put our total pension contribution into context, it represents more than last year’s pre-tax profit of £230m. No other UK aviation company faces the scale of this challenge.”
The letter was sent out as GMB balloted members over strike plans. The Transport & General Workers’ Union is also expected to announce that it will ballot members.
The unions have already turned down a three-year pay offer worth 8.5% and an alternative offer of 10.5%, as long as the increase is not pensionable.
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