The pilots of British Airways’ wholly owned regional subsidiary CitiExpress last month began consultations with union leaders over industrial action after talks about restructuring the division broke down. BA planned to announce late last month that further changes at CitiExpress would result in the closure of bases at some airports and the loss of more pilot jobs. British Airways plans to cut 3,000 jobs throughout the company by October.
On April 14 the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) began sending ballots to CitiExpress’ some 600 pilots to gauge sentiment for or against a possible strike. BALPA stressed that its complaint centers on CitiExpress’ unilateral moves to change work rules and reorganize without the consultation of the union. BALPA officials claim that the airline reneged on an agreement to introduce outside mediators into the discussions.
In a letter mailed to pilots in March, CitiExpress managing director David Evans acknowledged that management and the union needed to “rebuild the relationship” because of the “difficulty in achieving a constructive dialogue.”