Concorde001
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British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:27 am

Oh no, not again!

Quote:
Pilots at British Airways (BA) are being advised by their union to borrow £25,000 each to prepare for a long strike over their pension scheme. The British Airlines Pilots Association (Balpa) says it is preparing for an all out strike of its 2,822 members at BA

Full BBC News article can be found here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4697766.stm

If 2006 turns out to be another year (4th in a row) of industrial unrest at BA, I think their reputation will suffer very badly.

Let's hope a deal is reach!
 
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apuneger
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:33 am

hm....not good...I already got caught in one of the strikes (back in July 2003), and this July I'm flying them BRU-LHR-YVR and YYZ-LHR-BRU. Oh my...I hope BA management can reach an agreement with the unions or at least find some sort of solution to make sure the pilots don't go on strike.

Greets,
Ivan
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BestWestern
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:37 am

Balpa at it again - the pensions discussions havent even started. Is BALPA run by Ian Paisley or something? God, those guys deserve a labotomy. Wonder what the unionhuggers are saying over on PPRUNE!

(oh, and now that the news is out that pilots should borrow 25K, the banks will load the repayments, due to fear of unpayment - Balpa are so stupid)
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Zoheb
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:41 am

Ooooh, chance for BA Executive club members to get another round of free BA miles.

Last year most got around 100,000 BA miles, with the Gate Gourmet strike.
 
BestWestern
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:54 am

Quoting Zoheb (Reply 3):
Last year most got around 100,000 BA miles, with the Gate Gourmet strike.

I got 50,000 but would prefer a strong airline, positioned for growth, which will drive more security, rather than an entrenched shrivveling carrier that will happen if they cant get the pensions bill down.
You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
trekster
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:32 am

And this will do what exactly. The pension deficitae is there, and the company are doing all they can.

Do the pilots really expect to come back to a job if they all strike, mucking up all our pax plans. They wont wanna fly with us, and will go elsewhere, leaving no one to fly, meaning they will get laid off. There is not much the company can do, but there trying there dam hardest. The bleedin union aint helping. Hence i aint a memeber of one. Ii dont like them
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TheSorcerer
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:35 am

I'm flying to DUS on the 24th of march, hope this isn't going to be affected.
Dominic
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BestWestern
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:37 am

This wont go to a strike - Hopefully the pilots are intelligent enough to ignore Balpa.

The one crazy union in BA is BASSA - the cabin crew union - boy are they short of a few screws.
You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
BA747400
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:46 am

Quoting BestWestern (Reply 4):
I got 50,000

Were you stranded because of the strike?

I hope this situation is resolved quickly.....this could truly hurt their reputation: 2 strikes in less than a year?!
 
flyinghippo
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:02 am

I don't understand why every union members think they deserve pensions when they retire... have they ever heard of a 401K plan (or something similar in UK), or saving????

I don't know how much a captain gets paid at BA, however, I don't think it will be worse than a lot of regular Joe Schmos who make a lot less than a BA captain who has been making a pretty good salary for the past 15-20 years, and WITHOUT a pension!!

My job offers a pension plan, its so little that I won't feel the difference if they take it away. When I retire, I'm going to depend on my 401K savings and my nest egg I've put away. Why can't union members learn how to do that?!?!?!
 
HS748
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:17 am

Don't over-react. This is just a negotiating ploy by BALPA. Can you seriously see pilots borrowing £25,000 to fund a strike? And let's face it, BA pilots are so well paid they wouldn't even need to borrow the money!
 
Rick767
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:23 am

Quoting Trekster (Reply 5):
the company are doing all they can

So how come BA Can Afford To Pay . com?
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mhodgson
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strik

Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:21 am

Quoting Rick767 (Reply 11):
So how come BA Can Afford To Pay . com?

Do you seriously think that BA are wanting a strike? If they could pay, they would do - they know how much damage the August strikes have done, they know how precarious their business would be if it happened again, especially as this time it would be pilots striking, which would probably affect LHR and LGW, and cannot be stopped in the short term simply by offering food vouchers. The management are not stupid enough to risk their business; a 3rd year of strikes has probably affected them enough without a 4th year of strikes affecting their entire London operartion.
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steve6666
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:32 am

Read the latest balance sheet, and BA cannot obviously afford to pay. BA has equity of about £1.7bn, and long term interest bearing debt of about £3.8bn, so in other words it's about 200% geared.

Bear in mind that a heavily geared commercial property company whose operating assets generally appreciate can afford gearing around 100% and that BA's assets will almost exclusively be depreciating, the markets probably would not be able to stomach BA filling a £1.8bn pension deficit in one go, from cash.

Bear also in mind that, in 9 months to 31 December, the business has generated £400m of cash, and is facing a significant medium term exceptional cost from the T5 move which will have to be funded from cash.

As more macroeconomic, general points, when one side exclusively feels the pain, contracts get renegotiated. Equally, final salary schemes are pretty much over for various reasons, not least because of a particularly stupid new accounting rule which not only forces companies to put the deficit on their balance sheets, but is overly pessimistic in calculating the deficit.
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BestWestern
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:34 am

Quoting BA747400 (Reply 8):
Were you stranded because of the strike?

Yes - However, BA looked after me really well.

Quoting Rick767 (Reply 11):
So how come BA Can Afford To Pay . com?

The logic beyond this presentation doesnt follow. Are they suggesting that BA dont pay their debts... Are they really blaming the american government. Are they really suggesting that its everyone elses problem? Typical Union rubbish
You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
N754PR
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:42 am

The joys of Unions...... we will get you more pay, but we may also get you fired..... and screw the customers.
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satx
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:54 am

Quoting FlyingHippo (Reply 9):
I don't understand why every union members think they deserve pensions when they retire... have they ever heard of a 401K plan (or something similar in UK), or saving????

You talk as though 401k's existed from the beginning of time. They're a fairly recent event from what I understand. What would you tell a person who chose to work for a given company because of the pension plan?
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:42 am

Scaremongering by the Union. Unfortunately private pensions in the UK aren't ironclad, and changes in UK accounting rules means deficits in Pension Funds must be included as part of a company's debt. UK Financial press talking generally that some major UK firms could go to the wall over their pension fund deficits (I'm not suggesting BA is one) and with one of the largest Pension Fund deficits BA need to come up with a solution. BA needs to fund a major longhaul fleet renewal in next couple of years and the financing to do this won't be helped if a major Pensions black hole exists, unresolved. BALPA will have to realise they can't preserve the status quo, and pointing a gun at the head of BA Management isn't really constructive. Nobody likes the thought of working longer, or making higher contributions, but it's surely better to work with Management to come up with a long term solution to a long term problem.
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gritzngravee
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:43 am

If one of the guys from the UK could help me on Union rules about coffers that would be helpful. Here in the states each union member pays dues to the coffer so when a potential strike situatiuons occurs they can cover their losses when out of work. This was a strategy used by the TWA(transport workers authority) in NYC due to the MTA(metro transit authorities) lies of not having money when they had billion dollar surpluses but wanted to cut pensions and benefits. So when the TWA told the MTA they would walk out and they did, federal law prohibited a strike and it led to substantial fines of over a million. Not to worry they had enough money in the coffer to cover the fines and any expenses the striking workers needed. Unions can be a pain in the ass or they can actually work(helping and protecting the employees who aren't protected by their corporate structure). It is becoming too commonplace in corporate society, the distancing of the front office execs from the work force. It is like they are working against each other. One wants all of the profits and the others want the pension and benefits. Who deserves what?!
 
RichardPrice
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:18 am

Quoting FlyingHippo (Reply 9):
I don't understand why every union members think they deserve pensions when they retire... have they ever heard of a 401K plan (or something similar in UK), or saving????

A pension in the UK takes one of three forms:

1. A company linked pension, where both you and the company makes payments into your pension fund, usually the company pays a lot more than you (3x or more). This is an employee benefit and if the company offers it its part of the contract. A pension deficit is created in two ways - the market doesnt produce as much interest as people expected, or either of the two parties fail to pay in the expected amount of money (or both can happen).

2. A private pension where your contributions are made directly to a pension fund of your choosing, and the company pays nothing toward it. Funds are deducted from your Gross salary and tax isnt paid.

3. The government pension fund, where your NI earnings are put into a government fund and you get paid on reaching the national retirement age. If you worked during your lifetime, you get a government provided pension, the amount depends on how much NI you pay (you have to make a certain number of years NI payments to qualify for a full value pension). Your government provided pension compliments your private pension, you get both.

A 401(k) is pretty much very similiar to 1 and 2. They are pensions with a different name (savings funds for retirement). The way in which they differ is that traditionally a pension used to be termed as a 'defined benefit' fund, eg you got an income based on your final salary, or the amount defined when the pension was taken out. A 401(k) is a 'defined contribution' fund, where the final amount isnt guaranteed but the input is fixed at a value per payment.
 
gritzngravee
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:44 am

Ask the former Enron, Adelphia and World Com employees about 401K's and see what they tell you!!!!! "DIVERSIFY YOUR PORTFOLIO" is what they would tell you. I know everyone wants to drink the kool aid and believe in everything your company leaders are telling you, but make your own decisions based upon what YOU & YOUR FAMILY will need after you stop working. If you are depending on a 401K and a 401K ONLY to provide you with enough income while retired you definitely have a trust fund or other types of assets available to you. Because, if you are making big time contributions to your 401K and your company has to come up with cash to pay off creditors you BEST BELIEVE your 401K is history!!!!!!!!!!!! My fathers pensions went from 7K to $890 a month due to piss poor executive management of his company, while the CEO, COO and CFO walked away with over a million each, life isn't fair the majoority of the time so protect yourself and loved ones early so you will not suffer later!!!!!!!!!
 
727forever
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:48 am

Quoting FlyingHippo (Reply 9):
I don't understand why every union members think they deserve pensions when they retire... have they ever heard of a 401K plan (or something similar in UK), or saving????

Why do Union Members think they deserve pensions? I don't know, maybe a little reason might be because they negotiated for them. They gave up something in a previous contract, perhaps many years ago, to get that pension plan. What's more, management agreed to pay out on this pension plan. A pension plan is worth millions to each and every employee. If you steal that from them by not paying up on it (UA, US, NW, DL) or you try to negotiate it away, you have to give them something of equal value to replace it. That's how negotiating works. There is nothing that the airlines could replace a pension with and they know it. If BA is anything like their American counterparts, they'll take the pensions, get pay cuts, and then give themselves all bonuses up top and call it "Inline with standard Industry Practices."

To all of you Junior Airline CEO wannabees, I'll admit some of the unions have gone a bit overboard. I would agree that rampers should not be pulling in $90k to work 3 flights a day. However, if Execuative management wants to be making money that is "Inline with standard Industry Practices," then they need to be showing profits that are "Inline with Standard Industry Practices." It's not going to happen though. Airlines are not good money makers. They never have been. If an airline is making big profits, be scared. Somebody is taking the money. When times are good an airline need to be putting the profits back into the company through capital improvements such as getting better finance rates on a/c, updating their product, or the most important buying fuel hedges. This simply hasn't been happening thus the current state of the industry.
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jsposaune
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:51 am

As a curious traveler, (and a non-rev one at that) what is the time line for this possible strike? I'm lookng to fly BA in early March...any issues by then??
There are no stupid questions....only stupid people!!!
 
Boeingfan
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:41 pm

...yeah right and a million pound sterling check in the mail
 
pawsleykat
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:07 pm

Quoting Concorde001 (Thread starter):
Oh no, not again!

Exactly my words. F@*K, do BA intend to aggravate everyone of their passengers every FLAMING year?

I really am getting tired of BA striking!

Quoting Zoheb (Reply 3):
Last year most got around 100,000 BA miles, with the Gate Gourmet strike.

It's always the same, If rich people don't get their own way, Pay Them Off!
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Paul
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:40 am

IMHO BA are taking the michael slightly.


They are a compay with a stable quartely turnover and consequently net income. Why should the pilots take the brunt of the radical transformation of the BA Pension scheme. Most pilots take a huge financial risk and investment in learning how to fly and getting their licences and even though they may earn good money, a 70,000 pound loan is no easy thing to pay off, especially when ones pension is coming under fire.

Willie Walsh may be a great CEO and has done good things at BA but maybe he is addressing the pension scheme in the wrong way. As said in the BA statement its BA's fault they have not kept the pension plan under control, so why the hell should the pilots suffer when admin could not pull their fingers out and do their jobs properly.

Paul
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vv701
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:27 am

The TUC guidelines to their members (i.e. the British Unions like BALPA) is that Unions should try to negotiate so that employers contributions to company pension schemes are a factor of two larger than the employees own contribution. Currently BA are putting FIVE times their employees contributions into the pension fund. So if the TUC guidelines are to be followed and the current overall contribution level is to be maintained, employees (including pilots) contributions should be doubled and BA's contributions reduced by one fifth. Then, instead of contributing 1 pound for every 5 pounds the company contributes, employees would be contributing 2 pounds for every 4 pounds contributed by BA.

Of course there are many reasons why all employees in the private sector in the UK are having pension problems not least being the forecast life expectancy increasing so that many of us can expect to live to 100 if recent news reports are to be believed. Effectively this means that many of us will work for 40 years and draw a pension for 40 years. And over such a long period that pension will grow significantly. After 20 years at an annual increase of two and a half per cent it will grow to be 1.63 times as large as the starting pension and after 40 years to more than 2.6 times the initial payments.

One of the side effects of the BA crisis is that the company, despite being one of the most profitable airlines in the world, has not been paying a dividend to its shareholders for several years. This identifies another problem. The independent trustees of company pension schemes invest the money they receive from employees and employers and look to achieve long term capital growth and short term income out of which they pay current pensions. One place nearly every major pension fund in the country has money invested is in British Airways plc. So by paying a large amount into the company pension fund and stopping paying BA shareholders nearly all of us in a company pension fund is indirectly suffering a loss of future income because of the no dividend BA policy.

Many blue chip companies such as IBM (UK) and Boots have already withdrawn their final salary schemes for new employees as we near the situation (because of longlivety) that many of us will draw a FINAL salary pension for more years than we paid our small contribution.

The number of smaller companies that are going bankrupt and are leaving insufficient funds in their pension schemes to meet is rising. As a result the British government is introducing a scheme where private sector employers have to contribute to a rescue fund to ensure that everybody in a pension scheme gets a pension from it or the fund, however small. The contributions to this fund will depend on the current assessed deficit in the company's pension scheme (as most companies faced with the same problems have such deficits). The BA annual contribution to the fund will be about 10M pounds. This money would, of course, otherwise have been available to go into the company pension fund.

It is to be hoped that the BA pilots have more economic savvy than BALPA who are threatening a strike because they can see the problem, but, as far as I am aware, have not yet entered negotiations with management on how it might be solved. I always thought that striking - extremely dangerous at any time if the employers equity to debt ratio is even as high as 1:1 and not the 1:2 that BA currently has - was a last resort when negotiations break down. It is clear that BALPA know that their demands on BA management will be impossible to meet if they are warning their members to prepare for a long strike before negotiations start. If they bring BA down and force it into bankruptcy then most of their pension will be gone forever as no one else will make up the 1B pound plus deficit.
 
scotron11
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:22 pm

Well, let us hope this is just "blustering" on their part. Maybe BA should raise the retirement age for pilots from 55 to 60 to ease the current pension deficit. Not that that alone would cure the shortfall, but I am sure a lot of pilots facing mandatory retirement at 55 would prefer to keep flying.

Willie Walsh is a pilot, so I am confident there will be no strike (my crystal ball says so!). Anyway, what is the point of a strike? Absolutely nothing! It certainly wouldn't create anymore value.
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:37 pm

Quoting FlyingHippo (Reply 9):
don't know how much a captain gets paid at BA, however, I don't think it will be worse than a lot of regular Joe Schmos who make a lot less than a BA captain who has been making a pretty good salary for the past 15-20 years, and WITHOUT a pension!!

Well, put it this way, a BA Captain gets paid about double that of a Senior Manager.

I highly doubt the pilots will strike, because there won't be a job to go back to, also I know there are lots and lots of other pilots who would love to fly for BA.

BALPA think they are invinsable or are too powerful for BA (or Willie Walsh) to handle, they are not. BALPA only think of themselves, no one else, they don't think about the consequences or problems they'll cause for the other staff.
IMHO this is all talk, no fist (if you get the idea).They know what will happen if BA go down because of them.

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 1):
hope BA management can reach an agreement with the unions or at least find some sort of solution to make sure the pilots don't go on strike.

You mean the ones who are still there after 30% of them get sacked  Sad
Hey, perhaps BA should sack 30% of their Pilots, that'd save them alot of money  Yeah sure

Wrighbrothers
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whitehatter
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:02 pm

Amazing how all the seventeen year old economists and union experts weigh in on the subject.

Strike action and bluster is a regular tactic. BALPA is merely rattling the swords to show the other side that they indeed do have a sword. If the union side can go to the table with evidence of support for action behind them, it makes their position crystal clear to management that this is not some idle threat or fishing expedition.

Maybe it is time to revisit the 55 retirement issue, but there is some evidence that it could have less of an impact on the fund than people might think. It wouldn't cause any problems to implement though, as the current retirement age is no longer medically sustainable on the sort of calculations which produced that figure. People live longer, healthier lives since 55 was first introduced.
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N1120A
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RE: British Airways' Pilots Prepare For Long Strike

Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:09 pm

Quoting BestWestern (Reply 4):
I got 50,000 but would prefer a strong airline, positioned for growth, which will drive more security, rather than an entrenched shrivveling carrier that will happen if they cant get the pensions bill down

Um, BA is damn near the most profitable airline in the world. Their cries of poverty SHOULD be falling on deaf ears though it appears very few are actually seeing that

Quoting FlyingHippo (Reply 9):
I don't understand why every union members think they deserve pensions when they retire...

Because they sign a contract that includes them. Why you sign a contract, do you expect it to be honored or not??

Quoting Rick767 (Reply 11):

Excellent site

Quoting Steve6666 (Reply 13):
Read the latest balance sheet, and BA cannot obviously afford to pay. BA has equity of about £1.7bn, and long term interest bearing debt of about £3.8bn, so in other words it's about 200% geared.

Um, you should be reading the balance sheet. BA has over $5 billion USD in cash, short term investments and NET revievables. They have another $15 billion USD in non-cash assets. They only have $16.6 billion in debt. That means all of their creditors, secured and unsecured, are covered and BA still has nearly $4 billion in value. That is a VERY healthy balance sheet, particularly for a carrier that has been consistantly turning massive NET and operating profits. BA is trying to usurp their contractual liabilities to their workers by out and out lying to them and the public and the pilots are totally justified in their action if BA fails to live up to that obligation.
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