Pilots at Thomas Cook Airlines in the UK went on strike for 12 hours on Friday, and their union announced three more strike days in support of a dispute over pay and conditions.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association, which represents pilots at Thomas Cook UK, said Friday’s strike was the first for over 40 years, and the pilots had walked out “extremely reluctantly”.
“Pilots say Thomas Cook customers are not to blame for this action and they welcome the news that many flights are expected to operate as usual during the 12-hour strike,” BALPA said in a statement.
After the strike the union announced three more days of strikes, on September 23 and 29, and October 6.
BALPA also announced talks with the airline under the auspices of the UK’s conciliation and arbitration service ACAS.
The union’s General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said “I’m pleased that today’s strike by Thomas Cook pilots has kickstarted negotiations. We will now focus on trying to make progress at five days of ACAS talks over the next two weeks.
“However, there is still a significant gap between us and Thomas Cook so we cannot assume that those talks will succeed. That's why we've set new strike dates. We urge Thomas Cook to come to the ACAS table with an acceptable offer so we won't need to use them.”
Thomas Cook said all flights had operated during the 12-hour strike.