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UK pilots win court battle over holiday pay

The UK Supreme Court ruled on 17 October, in a case dating back to 2006, that holiday pay for UK pilots must include all elements of a pilot’s remuneration, and not just basic pay.

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), said, “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.

“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.

“This judgment could not be clearer and sets a bench mark across the whole of the aviation industry.”

This ruling follows the decision by a European court in September which ruled that British Airways should base holiday pay on overall earnings not just basic pay. BALPA claimed airlines might have to pay out £20m to pilots and £30m to cabin crew and other employees following the decision in Europe.