British pilots association demands unpaid wages after bonus disclosure – E24

The British Pilots Association is demanding that Norway cover unpaid salaries for British pilots laid off during bankruptcy protection – now Peak has received bonuses.

Norwegian CEO Geir Karlsen (pictured) received a NOK 11 million bonus in May, similar to former CEO Jacob Schram. Now the airline’s former British pilots’ union is reacting.

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“We asked if their passengers were aware of the mistreatment of their British personnel, completely against the contract and their legitimate demands for money,” the pilot association BALPA wrote to Norway in a letter dated June 30.

Norwegian bankrupted its subsidiary Norwegian Air Resources UK (NAR) in January, when it became clear that Norwegian closed remote investment.

In February, staffing company employees were told that NAR had no money to pay unpaid salaries. Now revelations that Norwegian employers received 11 million kroner each in bonuses have caused British pilots’ association BALPA to turn on all plugs.

In a letter addressed to the Norwegian board, which E24 has seen, BALPA wrote that it wants “fair early retirement compensation” for former Norwegian pilots at the former base at Gatwick in London.

“Our members were denied every penny of their contractual redundancy payments as a result of Norway’s calculated decision to close operations from the Gatwick base and enter the voluntary shutdown of Norwegian Air Resources UK,” BALPA National Advisor Terry Brandon wrote in the letter.

Brandon insists that BALPA is not against closing the crew base.

“Difficult decisions have to be made, especially as airlines face such huge challenges,” he wrote as Norway’s first priority was to survive bankruptcy protection under Irish law.

“However, we strongly oppose the way the group is doing it, and this is further reinforced by recent developments around management bonuses and other payouts, which have surfaced this week.”

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Called for 38 million kroner

This is not the first time BALPA has asked for the salary that British pilots are entitled to.

When the message first came, in February this year, the unions were referring to the promise they had made in November last year. based on report written by KPMG, housing manager for NAR UK, the company owes its employees the equivalent of NOK 38 million.

In addition to 38 million, the union demanded an answer in which severance pay would be provided, they believed the employees were promised.

– In November last year, NAR promised that all pilots would receive three months severance pay in the event of bankruptcy. Why did Norway break its promise, asked BALPA at the time.

In a letter dated June 30, Brandon also indicated that the Spanish pilots had received a completely different solution to the case, some of them said to have been paid as much as 100.00 euros as a redundancy payment, from Norway’s own coffers.

«[Dette] while pilots in the UK are not paid at all”, wrote Brandon, pointing out that the UK state has given pilots 3,000 euros in work permit fees. “In what scenarios imaginable is this fair?”

Brandon concludes the letter by remembering that the closures in London have put employees and their families in a difficult situation.

«[Norwegians] calculated actions and complete disregard for contractual and moral obligations have left families in need. Most fear losing their homes, and with little hope for the future”, he wrote, and called on Norway to “fulfill obligations” and “honour agreements”.

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Last week, E24 revealed that Norwegian had awarded an unknown bonus to the company’s top management.

The bonuses in question are 11 million each for former CEO Jacob Schram and current CEO Geir Karlsen, as well as bonuses for the entire management – so the package ends up being over 30 million.

Norway: Doesn’t change things

Norwegian has seen the letter from BALPA, and emphasized to E24 that previous pilot associations have also raised the same issue.

– The points raised are not new, and do not change the state of bankruptcy of NAR UK at the start of the year. When it became clear that Norway would no longer operate intercontinental flights, NAR UK went bankrupt because there was no longer a financial basis for the company, wrote press officer Andreas Hjørnholm in an email to E24.

– KPMG, who was appointed as the housing manager, has carried out an in-depth investigation into the possible financial obligations that NAR UK may have. Agreements entered into with other groups of employees in other countries reflect the local laws of those countries and do not apply to UK NAR.

Regarding the promise that Terry Brandon claimed to have made in November last year of around three months of severance pay, Hjørnholm wrote that it was based on NAR UK surviving the crisis.

– Discussions in summer 2020 only covered short-range pilots and were based on the fact that long-range pilots would return, and NAR UK would stay. When it became clear that Norway would no longer operate intercontinental flights, NAR UK went bankrupt as there was no longer any financial basis for the company.

Matt Thompson

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