Britain: ‘Strike summer’ at Heathrow Airport following British Airways staff vote

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British Airways staff at London Heathrow Airport today voted in favor of the payroll strike, leaving open the possibility of disrupting one of Europe’s busiest air hubs in an already chaotic summer for those traveling by air.

Airline passengers across Europe have already faced long delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights in recent weeks as airports struggle to cope with a lack of trained staff and strong demand after the pandemic.

Any strike in Heathrow is likely to increase the pressure.

The proposed strike affects less than half of Heathrow Airline ticket and ground staff in positions primarily related to customer service and control, including passenger assistance and baggage management.

The GMB union announced that 95% of British Airways (BA) staff at Heathrow Airport voted in favor of the strike, as BA did not withdraw its 10% pay cut during the pandemic.

The strike is likely to take place during the peak summer holiday season in the next two months, the GMB said, warning that Heathrow was likely to face a “summer of strikes”.

Workers must give two weeks’ notice to the NE before going on strike.

The news also comes as a week in which much of Britain’s rail network is being disrupted by a wage and job dispute between unions and railway companies, with railway workers demanding higher wages. with rapidly rising inflation.

“We are extremely disappointed with the result,” British Airways, owned by International Airlines (IAG), said in an email.

“Despite the fact that we are in an environment full of great challenges … we made a 10% payment offer, which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues. We are fully committed to working together to find a solution. “

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said British Airways should draw up contingency plans to minimize any disruption.

The GMB stressed that British Airways executives had restored their salaries to pre-pandemic levels, while ground staff did not. IAG CEO Luis Galego received a total salary of 1, 1.1 million in 2021, according to the company’s latest annual report.

“BA tried to offer our members crumbs from the table in the form of a lump sum payment of 10% bonus, but that is not enough,” GMB official Nandin Hafton said in a statement.

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said the airport would “support British Airways to minimize any inconvenience to passengers”.

Demand for air travel is higher than expected, as Heathrow today boosted its passenger forecast this year to 54.4 million from 53 million previously.

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