British Airways (BA) pilots on Monday embarked on strike over a pay dispute leading to the grounding of nearly all the planes.
The job action forced the cancellation of 1,700 flights to and from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
In an interview with BBC TV, BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz said:
It’s going to punish customers, it’s going to punish our brand, it’s going to punish the rest of the colleagues.
… The commitment of everyone at British Airways is to get over this particular dispute as quickly as possible and we urge the union to sit down with us as quickly as we can so we can reach an agreement.
Cruz added that the 11.5% offered to pilots was “way above” inflation, which stood at 2.1% in July.
BA offered its pilots an 11.5% pay rise over three years, which it said would take the pay of its highest-earning captains from 167,000 pounds ($205,000), plus 16,000 pounds in allowances, to just over 200,000 pounds.
This, however, is not satisfactory to the pilots. British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) General Secretary Brian Strutton said:
British Airways is going through some good times, we want to share in those profits just as we shared the pain in the bad times.
The latest strike has been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday this week, while another strike is set for September 27.
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