British Airways strikes 2022: when are the strike dates and will this impact the school summer holidays?

Strikes have been suspended after new pay offer

The planned British Airways (BA) strike at Heathrow later this year has been suspened after a new offer was put on the table.

Around 700 BA staff were due to strike this summer.

The majority were check-in workers, in what has proved a challenging year for the industry and the airport.

BA said it was ‘very pleased’ the unions had decided not to issue dates for industrial action.

The Unite union said an agreement was reached after “extensive” talks.

Both Unite and GMB union members will now be balloted over the new pay deal that has been proposed.

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When are the strikes expected to take place?

At the time of publication, the exact dates were not known.

However, we do have a time period. Workers are expected to go on strike during the summer holidays, when passenger demand is expected to reach almost pre-pandemic levels.

This rounds off a tough couple of years for British Airways, who recorded around £4 billion in losses, largely due to travel coming to complete halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

IT problems and staff shortages have plagued BA this year, causing widespread disruption, and with the strike set to take place during the busiest time of the year, it will inevitably cause more disruption.

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Travel restrictions have been reduced heavily, with the numbers of those travelling abroad expected to surge.

Why are they striking?

The main reason for the strike is a dispute over pay.

The unions said that the action was due to a 10 percent cut in pay that was introduced during the pandemic.

This 10 percent has not been reinstated since the airline, and the travel industry as a whole is seeing improvements as we come out of the pandemic.

How are British Airways going to handle the strikes?

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British Airways operates from terminals three and five at Heathrow, and it is believed that if the strikes do go ahead, there are plans in place to cover staff, which may require senior management to deal with some check-ins.

But, systems are already under significant strain, and disruption is arguably inevitable despite the contingency plans in place.

Has British Airways said anything?

After the result of the ballot, where 94.7% voted in favour of industrial action, and 95% of GMB members backed the walkouts, BA said it was ‘disappointed’ with the outcome.

Furthermore, they added: "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."

Will the school summer holidays be impacted by this?

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This wouldn’t be the first time that school holidays saw travel chaos.

Hundreds of flights across the UK were cancelled during the week of the Platinum Jubilee and school half-term holidays, and more disruption is expected if the strikes go ahead.

The workers would strike when passenger levels are expected to soar, which would cause maximum disruption.

This comes just mere weeks after it was revealed Heathrow experienced its busiest month since before the pandemic in May of this year.

Is there more chaos in store for Heathrow?

It has recently been announced that British Airways are to cut a further 10,300 flights until the end of October, which equates to around 13% of its flight schedule during the peak season in the industry.

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BA, speaking exclusively to Sky News said said the vast cancellations were announced in a bid to protect popular holiday flights amid a time of turmoil for the airline.

Amid strike, baggage and queue problems, the aviation regulator has announced that the airport must reduce its passenger charges.

The CAA said the cap on the average passenger will fall from from £30.19 today to £26.31 in 2026.

In a tweert, The UK Civil Aviation Authority said: ‘Today, we’ve publish our final proposals for the maximum that Heathrow Airport can charge airlines for using the airport over the next five years’.