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Pay and lifestyle: how is BALPA stacking up?

by Martin Pearson Pay and Rewards Specialist

Last year we conducted a telephone survey of members and asked you to identify your priority industrial issues for 2016. The top three items were pay, lifestyle and pensions. Your CC Reps – and BALPA as a whole – have therefore been focussing on these issues during the 2016 bargaining round and, with membership support, have so far achieved the following successes:


At BA, Thomson and DHL we’ve secured basic pay deals above RPI and at or above the median private sector “going rate” of 2%. Members in Jet2 are also being balloted on an above RPI pay offer which includes a 4% increase to basic pay plus additional consolidated increases of £5,000 pa for Captains and £1,070 pa for Senior FOs and other improvements.  At BA and Thomson we also secured improvements to bonus schemes which are becoming a growing feature of many BALPA pay deals. Improvements to another increasingly important benefit, Loss of Licence cover, were also secured at BA and DHL. 


The DHL CC secured significant improvements to lifestyle/scheduling arrangements as part of their pay deal, whilst in BA members have opted for a new preference bidding scheduling system to replace the existing Bidline Rules. Lifestyle improvement is also a key priority in the on-going Flybe pay negotiations.


The focus here has been two-fold:

(i)    Maintaining and protecting DC pension benefits – A number of CCs have been working hard to see off attempts by employers to introduce lower employer DC pension contribution rates for new entrants. Meanwhile, in the helicopter sector, the Bristow CC has been fighting hard to ensure that an agreed improvement to the employer contribution rate is implemented from April 2016 in the face of strong pressure from the employer to defer the increase.

(ii)    Opposing government attempt to reduce higher rate pensions tax relief – The big issue for CCs, and BALPA as a whole, at the beginning of this year was putting pressure on Conservative MPs and campaigning to stop the Treasury reducing higher rate tax relief. Although we won this time around (with George Osborne removing this item from his March Budget), we will almost certainly need to fight this battle all over again another day.

The coming months will see more industrial negotiations taking place around the table, and those pilot respresentatives, supported by BALPA full time staff, will be there to ensure we deliver the best possible outcome for members on pay, lifestyle, and pensions.