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EXCLUSIVE: CHC Helicopters Threatens to Sack All UK Pilots

Published in Oil Industry News on Monday, 29 May 2017

Graphic for News Item: EXCLUSIVE: CHC Helicopters Threatens to Sack All UK Pilots

CHC Helicopters have threatened to sack all their 85 UK based pilots if each pilot does not agree to negotiations aimed at reducing their annual pay.

Oil and Gas People has learned that CHC Scotia Ltd is seeking to change the terms and conditions of all their UK-based pilots – preferably via negotiation, but if not, by imposition.

The proposed contract negotiations are set to take place between the 24th May and the 23rd June 2017 with CHC threatening to terminate the contracts of those unwilling to negotiate. If any pilots were to have their employment terminated, CHC intend to offer new contracts on revised and inferior terms.


It is unlikely CHC’s pilots will willingly accept pay reductions, as helicopter pilots require thousands of flight hours to fly commercially and are required to continually develop their skills. Pilot salaries are relative to the technical skill sets required and the decision for one operator to reduce salaries beyond the norm could result in an out-flux of experienced pilots.

A CHC spokesman, said: "We are not seeking to reduce the number of our pilot workforce. We have entered a period of collective consultation with the pilots' union BALPA regarding the standardisation of terms of conditions.

"The proposed changes are being put forward out of a desire to protect the jobs of all pilots and ensure a strong future for CHC."

CHC's parent company has only recently come out of Chapter 11 restructuring - aimed at preventing bankruptcy.  This move allowed the organisation to wipe off over $1 billion of debt and in turn significantly reduce the size of their overall helicopter fleet.

The strong-arm move to reduce salaries is unheard of in the UK aviation sector and may signify that CHC’s Chapter 11 re-structuring has not achieved the long-term financial stability it was hoping for. 

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:


"BALPA has been notified of CHC's intention to change the terms and conditions of its pilots. We are in negotiations with the company and we will be meeting our members this week to discuss the situation. We have nothing further to add at this stage."

If you have a story relating to the oil and gas industry that you would like to bring to our attention, please contact our news team in confidence at: news@oilandgaspeople.com

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