British Airways (BA) pilots have on Monday begun a two-day strike over a nine-month pay dispute with the airline.
It is the first global strike faced by the airline and there’s a possibility almost all its flights get grounded for two days.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s government had on Friday urged both sides “to get round the table and sort this out”.
The airline reportedly threatened to strip pilots and their families of free travel perks if the strike action goes ahead.
“We make no apology for doing everything we can to protect our customers from further disruption,” a BA spokesperson told the Financial Times on Friday.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) rejected a pay increase of 11.5 percent over three years that the airline proposed in July.
“It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.
“BA has lost the trust and confidence of pilots because of cost-cutting and the dumbing down of the brand… management want to squeeze every last penny out of customers and staff,” BALPA’S general secretary, Brian Strutton told BBC.
He added that this has also made it harder for them (pilots) to do their jobs.
“One day of strike action will cost BA, on their own figures, £40 million,” BALPA tweeted on Sunday, alleging that BA didn’t reply a proposal forwarded by pilots.
“The difference between us now is £5 million. Why won’t they work with us to end this dispute?”
One day of strike action will cost BA, on their own figures, £40m. The difference between us now is £5m. Why won't they work with us to end this dispute?#BAstrike
— BALPA (@BALPApilots) September 8, 2019
The union said that BA never replied to a counteroffer it made to the airline on Wednesday.
Reacting, the airline said a “vast majority” of its travellers have either made alternative arrangements or accepted refunds since being informed of the possible walkout last month.
“We don’t underestimate the inconvenience caused, for which we are deeply sorry,” BA said in a statement to customers on Sunday.