Hundreds of workers at London’s Heathrow airport plan to launch a strike for three days starting on 18 November over better pay.
According to workers union, Unite the Union (Unite), 700 staff members at the airport will participate in the strike.
The staff to undertake the strike are involved in ground-handling, airside transport and cargo services and are employed by Emirates Group‘s airport services subsidiary Dnata and Menzies at the airport.
The strike will start a couple of days before the soccer world cup that will be held in Qatar.
It will begin in the early hours of 18 November, and will conclude in the early hours of 21 November.
A 5% pay increase has been offered by Dnata to its workers, while Menzies’s offer for its workers is in the range of 2% to 6%.
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The union, however, considers these offers to be far below the real rate of inflation (RPI) that presently stands at 12.6%.
Dnata UK operations managing director Alex Doisneau was quoted by Sky News as saying: “It is disappointing that Unite plans to progress with this costly industrial action, despite our offer to staff of an award which, with previous increases, amounts to a pay rise of 15.5% (20.2% for HGV drivers) since December 2021.
“This is in line with inflation and amongst the best in the industry.”
The strike is expected to result in disruption, cancellations, and delays at two, three, and four terminals at Heathrow Airport.
Qatar Airways, which has scheduled an additional 10 flights a week during the world cup period, is anticipated to be most affected by the strike action.
The strike is also expected to affect passengers returning to the US for the Thanksgiving holiday, reported The Guardian.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members at Dnata and Menzies undertake highly challenging roles and are simply seeking a decent pay rise.
“Both companies are highly profitable and can fully afford to make a fair pay increase. The owners and directors are simply lining their own pockets rather than paying their workers fairly.
“The workers at Heathrow will have Unite’s complete support during this dispute.”
Meanwhile, a Heathrow spokesperson was quoted by BBC as saying: “We are aware of proposed industrial action from Dnata and Menzies colleagues at Heathrow, and we are in discussions with our airline partners on what contingency plans they can implement to support their ground handling should the strike go ahead.
“Our priority is to ensure passengers are not disrupted by airline ground handler shortages.”