British Airline Pilots Fight Pension Contribution Increase

January 12, 2006 ( - The British Airline Pilots Association says it will fight any plans to make its members pay for a deficit of more than 1 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in the company's final salary pension program.

The Associated Press reports that the union’s general secretary, Jim McAuslan, said “We are assembling a top team of accountants and advisers and will meet the company head on. We totally reject that pilots should pay for the deficit or any part of it. The team we have assembled will not accept anything BA says at face value and they will probe every statement.”

McAuslan said the airlines should honor its pledge to continue the current benefits program and not ask pilots to contribute more toward their pensions.

A statement from British Airways said the union was being “unprofessional and unhelpful” by talking of a strike “when the company has not put forward any proposals on pensions yet.” The airlines said it is still undergoing an “exhaustive communications campaign” to inform the 35,000 pension plan members of the implications of the deficit.

“We are keen to reach an acceptable solution for all our staff which secures their pensions and protects the future of the business,” the statement said.