British Airways workers at Heathrow vote to strike

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British Airways workers based at Heathrow Airport (LHR) have voted in favour of strike action in a disagreement over salaries. 

Members of the Unite union employed as check-in staff by British Airways at Heathrow ‘overwhelmingly’ supported the strike action, the union said. Unite is seeking to overturn a 10% pay cut made during the pandemic when lockdowns grounded flights.  

The union argues that the conflict arose after the airline restored the 10% cuts to management salaries but did not extend the wage reinstatements to check-in staff. 

“Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to BA’s services at Heathrow,” the union said in a statement to AeroTime. “The company has a short window of opportunity to reinstate our members pay before strikes are called. I urge BA not to squander that opportunity.” 

GMB, another trade union representing British Airways’ Heathrow workers, held a similar vote which received significant support.  

British Airways argues that it has offered a 10% “pay award” which has been accepted by other staff members.  

“We’re extremely disappointed with the result and that the unions have chosen to take this course of action,” the airline’s spokesperson wrote in a statement to AeroTime.  

“Despite the extremely challenging environment and losses of more than £4bn, we made an offer of a 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues. We are fully committed to work together to find a solution, because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we have to work as a team. We will of course keep our customers updated about what this means for them as the situation evolves,” the statement said.  

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) announced in a statement published on the same day that it expects higher passenger traffic in 2022 due to “stronger than expected demand”. LHR raised its forecast to 54.4 million from 53 million anticipated in its April 2022 report, a figure that had already increased from its December 2021 “guidance” of 45.5 million passengers.   

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