A bonus scheme to reward staff for good attendance is included in an improved offer from British Airways for its 2004 pay talks with unions. Staff will earn an extra £1,000 if they are absent from work no more than 16 days in a two year period.
The payments would be in addition to the offer of an 8.5 per cent pay increase over three years, with the first two and a half per cent backdated 10 months to October 1 last year.
British Airways employees currently have an annual average of 17 days absence from work. The UK national average is seven days per employee a year.
Mike Street, director of customer service and operations, said today: “The unions have been asking us for 14.5 per cent over three years. This offer meets that claim.
“The unions asked us to consider an incentive scheme to help tackle our absence issue and we believe this is an innovative way to reward staff with reasonable attendance records.
“As a result, we are asking the unions to ballot their members on this new offer.
“We remain hopeful of finding a resolution and are determined our customers should not be the ones to suffer.
“Other companies have considered punitive action for staff with poor attendance records, however we do not believe that is right for our people. We think this is a sensible and attractive way forward.
“Improving absence has a major contribution to help us meet the challenges we face now and in the future.”
Tackling high absence is part of British Airways’ £300 million employee cost saving target announced earlier this year. It is estimated to cost the airline at least £60 million a year.