The worst kept secret is no more. BA has now announced their intention to close NAPS.
Ed Sabisky (Unite Financial officer) and his team have worked tirelessly on our behalf to find ways to convince British Airways that keeping the pension scheme open was a sustainable option, to that end they were unsuccessful.
BA has determined that closing the scheme to future accrual (past contributions are of course safe) is their only option.
This is a BA board decision and it is they that must justify their action, taking full responsibility for both explaining their decision and reassuring their employees. Undoubtedly, they must also be prepared to shoulder the understandable angerand disappointment many people will feel.
A joint Unite/GMB press statement expressing these sentiments has already been sent to you.
This is going to be a rocky ride and although we will have to take it a day at a time, it will have distinct phases. These are early days and as a union, we simply do not have the answers to people’s questions at this point.
We must forensically assess the impact of this announcement with our Financial teams. We will not be bombarding people with coms at this point, because there is little to add until we know what potential solutions look like or are even possible.
BA have made the decision and we must decide how we are to deal with that.
There will and quite rightly, be much anger, rumour and galley lawyer talk that nobody will be in a place to hear what is being said. Which is why we must to some degree, be measured in our message. Until we know precisely what we face, what options we have and which course of action we will pursue.
The next step will be a meeting of the BA forum with the joint unions (Unite, BALPA and GMB) National officers early next week.
We will have more detail once that has taken place. For now, as your union we have a job to do and dealing with events like this, is why we are your reps.
We will keep calm and carry on, members need their union to be their anchor at dark times, not hysterical cheerleaders, because there will undoubtedly be no shortage of those, as we well know!
This is a time for clear heads and clear thinking and along with BALPA and the GMB, we must assess the impact across a huge range of different jobs, salaries, career progression, and of course age. Any potential solution will look different for people with three years to retirement, than those with 15 years to go.
It is not going to be an easy task, because there are no easy solutions but trying to find one is our job – and one way or another that is exactly what we intend to do.