GLOBAL - United Airlines have said the actions of flight attendants who threatened to hold strikes over the termination of the carrier's pension plan will "not be tolerated".
Jack Kande of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) said the airline's employees would continue to hold random and unannounced demonstrations at airports across the globe including Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, and in 14 US locations in the hope of causing “chaos”.
But in response to the actions taken by AFA, a spokesman for United Airlines said: “The actions the AFA leadership has threatened are illegal and will not be tolerated. United will do whatever is necessary to ensure the continued smooth operation of the company for our customers.
“While every other union at United has recognized the need to terminate and replace pension plans in order for United to successfully complete its restructuring, the AFA leadership has simply refused to accept reality and negotiate a replacement plan on behalf of its members.”
The flight attendants were protesting a decision by the financially troubled airline to turn the union's pension plan over to the US federal government's pension insurer.
Previously AFA had said the switch would mean that workers would lose the pension money that United was to contribute under the old plan. The losses would range from 30% to 70% of what the flight attendants expected from their pensions.
A statement at the time said: “Promised pension benefits for more than 120,000 United Airlines employees will be cut by up to half if the company succeeds in unloading its pension plan on the federal government.
“And you can bet other employers that want to shirk their pension obligations will follow United’s lead.”
However, in May a bankruptcy judge approved United's plan to unload its plans on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC).
But last month, flight attendants at United scored a key legislative victory in their battle to preserve their pension plan.
The House of Representatives passed an amendment to an appropriations bill prohibiting the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) from spending funds on the termination of their pension plan.
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