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Rosters in Jet2 “unsustainable”, says pilots union

Jet2 members of pilots’ union British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) would like to see the airline recognise the need for improved work-life balance through fairer rostering patterns, rather than a pay rise.

Despite the Leeds-based low-cost airline having just been announced the UK’s best airline, members of BALPA are telling Jet2 that the current individual impact on pilots’ wellbeing, fatigue and associated health issues is unsustainable.

In what might be seen as an unusual move by a union, the Jet2 pilot union representatives have launched a campaign ‘Not a penny more, not an hour less’ to show the company that, rather than pay, roster disruption and increased fatigue are now crucial issues that must be addressed. Pilots are seeking to improve the way in which rosters are managed and allocated.

BALPA is of the view that Jet2 pilots should have meaningful protections on their rosters because of the current, more permissive, European flight time limitations rules, which BALPA believes for some airlines can be seen as targets and not limits.

BALPA believes that these rostering practices are not sustainable in the long run and could have a detrimental effect on pilots’ health and wellbeing.

BALPA National Officer, Terry Brandon, said:

“BALPA recently wrote to Jet2 management to offer to work collaboratively with them on scientific fatigue analysis using our in-house experts. Jet2 refused saying that, although they take safety ‘extremely seriously’, they ‘do not wish, and are not obliged, to engage with BALPA on these matters’. We are concerned that this attitude in response to a genuine offer is sadly indicative of Jet2 management, and ultimately counter-productive.

“Jet2 pilots feel loyal to the company but are becoming increasingly frustrated at the way in which their shifts are rostered, and often subsequently changed, particularly in the summer months, which we believe is unsustainable.

“This is why pilots are saying that, for this year’s pay claim, they would actually be happy to keep pay the same but urge the company to review rostering.

“We appeal to Jet2 to listen to the pilots’ representative body now – to listen to its pilots – and implement the demand for basic roster protections that protect the health of our members during the busy summer season or the airline could face the potential risk of significant pilot fatigue and health issues.”