Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

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CharlieOneSix
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Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#1 Post by CharlieOneSix » Fri Feb 09, 2024 6:55 pm

From the Aberdeen Press & Journal:

Helicopter crews at Bristow have voted “overwhelmingly” to take industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has confirmed more than 96% of its members who took part in a ballot backed going on strike after months of negotiations ended without an agreement.

Bristow – which has bases in Aberdeen, Sumburgh and Norwich and also has the contract for providing search and rescue operations for the coastguard – said it was disappointed by the move and claimed staff were not given the chance to vote on an improved wages deal before being balloted on industrial action.

Balpa accused the company of “failing to listen to employees and offer a fair and reasonable pay deal”.

The workers involved in the dispute include pilots, technical crew, winch paramedics and winch operators.

Strike action is now looming with the helicopter industry already battling a major spare parts shortage.

Bristow helicopter crews have “overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action,” the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has confirmed.

Of the Balpa members that took part in the vote – numbers of which were not disclosed – 96.31% voted in favour of industrial action against the flight operator.

The workers, who include pilots, technical crew, winch paramedics and winch operators, are pursuing the action in a dispute over pay.

Balpa general secretary Amy Leversidge said: “This ballot is a clear indication of the strength of feeling among our members.

“Despite months of negotiation Bristow’s management has failed to listen to employees and offer a fair and reasonable pay deal.”

Bristow has bases in Sumburgh and Norwich as well as Aberdeen and provides search and rescue (SAR) operations for the coastguard in addition to operating heli transport flights for offshore workers.

The helicopter operator has a contract until December 2026 to provide SAR operations for HM Coastguard. Around 360 people are employed via this contract, according to Bristow’s website, and are based in 10 UK sites.

It is unclear how any potential strike action will impact Bristow’s SAR operations, however it’s understood those who work in this service are also involved in the dispute.

A Bristow Helicopters spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed by the outcome of this ballot and that, despite Bristow tabling an improved offer in a bid to avoid strike action, staff were not given an opportunity to vote on that offer before being balloted to participate in strike action.

“We believe our latest offer is highly competitive and remain committed to working collaboratively with Balpa to arrive at a fair and sustainable agreement that recognises the hard work and commitment of our team and to avoid unnecessary strike action.”

Ms Leversidge added: “For years, our members have remained loyal to Bristow by enduring pay freezes and cuts while they were enduring difficult times.

“It is unreasonable for Bristow to expect their helicopter pilots and technical crews to continue with austerity pay at a time when the company is booming and it is Balpa members who are at the heart of that success.”
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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#2 Post by FD2 » Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:03 pm

It sounds like the company made a panicky improved offer when they realised it was going to a ballot, but too late. It's unusual that so many sections of the company are united in their action to even request a ballot so I suspect they've not been happy bunnies for a long time.

It's not been a British company for years - apart from the name...

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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#3 Post by CharlieOneSix » Tue Feb 20, 2024 11:17 pm

Industrial action is due to be held between 3-5 March, 11-13 March, 18-20 March, and 25-27 March.
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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#4 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Feb 29, 2024 5:17 pm

From Energy Voice 29/2/24:
Bristow helicopter workers have postponed planned strike action out of respect after a fatal crash off Norway on Wednesday night.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) had set strikes for Bristow in Aberdeen, Sumburgh and Norwich on March 3 – 5 across Search and Rescue and Oil and Gas.

BALPA said: “Following the upsetting and tragic news of an accident involving a Bristow helicopter and crew off the coast of Norway yesterday, we have, as a mark of respect for the crew member who tragically lost their life and for those crew members otherwise injured in the crash, decided to withdraw our planned strike action at Bristow.”

Strikes planned for other dates in March remain unchanged and will go ahead unless a resolution is reached.

Workers, including pilots, technical crew, winch paramedics and winch operators have been pursuing the action over pay.

Other dates are planned for March 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27.
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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#5 Post by FD2 » Thu Feb 29, 2024 7:37 pm

Hopefully the management will take the opportunity to reciprocate the gesture of respect to increase their pay offer...but I have my doubts.

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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#6 Post by CharlieOneSix » Tue May 07, 2024 1:37 pm

......and it's finally happened.

Helicopter staff strike action over pay under way

How times have changed - only 9 scheduled flights today from Aberdeen and only two have taken off, no doubt flown by management pilots. The remaining seven flights are all "Flight on Hold". In my time at Bristow we used to have over 50 flights a day from ABZ, increasing to 90 over the Christmas/New Year period.

https://www.bristowgroup.com/flight-status
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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#7 Post by CharlieOneSix » Wed May 08, 2024 11:39 am

Only 6 Bristow flights scheduled out of ABZ today, the first three were between 45 minutes and 90 minutes late on departure....

From the Aberdeen Press & Journal today:
Strike.jpg
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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#8 Post by FD2 » Wed May 08, 2024 7:53 pm

Good old 'Depressing Journal' - that's not a Bristow aircraft in the photo is it?

Well before I flew with Bristow one man was in control - the stories about him are legendary - but there was a fierce loyalty amongst his employees. When I joined there was a faceless board of directors as AB had sold up and I suggested to our base manager one day, for a wind up, that it might be nice if we had a mugs gallery with the directors' relevant aviation experience so we knew who was running the show. The poor chap blustered that it certainly couldn't be done - he didn't know himself!

Adam Thomson, Freddie Laker and Alan Bristow - inspirational figures who deserved loyalty.

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Re: Bristow crews vote for strike action - shades of 1977?

#9 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu May 09, 2024 12:08 pm

FD2 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2024 7:53 pm
Good old 'Depressing Journal' - that's not a Bristow aircraft in the photo is it? .....
Ha - no that's a CHC machine! If anyone can get it wrong it's the P&J.
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