UK pilots triumph in long-running holiday pay case

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The British Airline Pilots Association has won a long-running legal dispute over holiday pay for UK-based pilots.

Pronouncing on a case begun in 2006, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that pilots' holiday pay must reflect all elements of a pilot's remuneration, not just basic pay.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of BALPA, says: 'This is a major victory for all pilots in the UK. The calculation of holiday pay was a clear example of pilots being short-changed by their employers. We always believed that under European working time rules introduced in 2004 pilots should be treated like other working people in the UK and should receive their proper pay during holidays.

"This should not be restricted to basic salary but should include allowances." A significant - but varying - proportion of airline pilot pay beyond the basic salary normally reflects hours flown and route allowances.

McAuslan added: "British Airways and other UK airlines opposed us but, after a six year legal battle, both the European Court of Justice and now the UK's Supreme Court have finally supported our position."

BALPA has lodged similar claims with employment tribunals on behalf of over 1,000 pilots working for EasyJet, BMI, Virgin Atlantic, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook, BA Cityflyer and Flybe. These claims were stayed pending the outcome of the case against BA.

The pilot union estimates that the total retrospective value of all UK pilot holiday pay claims is over £20 million ($32.3 million).