Thomas Cook Airlines’ pilots start 12-hour strike

Thomas Cook Airlines’ pilots start 12-hour strike

Pilots at Thomas Cook Airlines walked out at 3am this morning on a 12-hour strike in a row over pay.

It is the first time in more than 40 years that UK pilots have gone on strike, according to the British Airline Pilots’ Association.

The union says its members working for Thomas Cook have taken the action “extremely reluctantly”.

The airline has published a revised schedule for today affecting 28 flights, the majority with revised departure times.

The dispute is over claimed year-on-year, real-term pay cuts, reductions in terms and conditions and frustration with the company’s “intransigent stance” during negotiation, according to Balpa.

The union said: “Pilots say Thomas Cook customers are not to blame for this action and they welcome the news that many flights are expected to operate as usual during the 12-hour strike.

“But they say they want the company to understand just how resolute pilots are and how frustrated they are with the company’s uncompromising stance.”

Balpa added that it was committed to finding a solution to the dispute and urged Thomas Cook to put forward a pay offer that its pilots can accept.

General secretary Brian Strutton said: “Thomas Cook pilots have faced pay cuts and slashed terms and conditions and say, ‘enough is enough’.

“Going on strike is not something pilots take lightly. Balpa members haven’t been on strike since 1974, but with no sensible pay offer on the table, Thomas Cook pilots have had no other option.

“The time has come for Thomas Cook to understand the depth of feeling on this issue, listen to its pilots and come forward with a reasonable offer that they can accept.”

Thomas Cook Airlines said: “In order to make sure that everyone can still travel with us during the strike period, we have made changes to the departure times of some of our flights on the 8th of September.

“We have tried to keep disruption to a minimum and apologise if these changes affect your plans or cause you inconvenience on that day.

“We will continue to work hard with the pilots’ union representatives to find a way forward and avoid strike action.

“All other flights on the 8th of September are currently unaffected and customers should check in as normal.”

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