Heathrow strike: British Airways staff to walkout during school summer holidays

A total of 700 check in and ground staff are set to strike during the summer holidays, when demand from travellers is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Hundreds of British Airways workers at Heathrow Airport have voted to go on strike this summer over pay.

GMB and Unite members, who are mostly check in and ground staff, have backed the decision to take industrial action.

The unions say workers are up in arms because a 10% pay cut imposed on them during the pandemic has not been reinstated.

GMB and Unite members who are mostly check in and ground staff have backed the decision to take industrial action.

This was despite bosses having their pre-Covid pay rates reinstated, the unions have said.

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BA has offered a 10% one-off bonus but not a return to the same pay as before.

Some 500 Unite members recorded a 94.7% vote in favour of industrial action, while 95% of GMB members backed the walkouts.

Strike dates will be confirmed in the coming days.

"With grim predictability, holidaymakers face massive disruption thanks to the pig-headedness of British Airways," Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said in a statement.

"GMB members at Heathrow have suffered untold abuse as they deal with the travel chaos caused by staff shortages and IT failures.

“At the same time, they’ve had their pay slashed during BA’s callous fire and rehire policy.”

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Unite officer Russ Ball said: "The problems British Airways is facing are entirely of its own making.

“It brutally cut jobs and pay during the pandemic even though the government was paying them to save jobs."

It is understood that were strikes to go ahead, those balloted for action at Heathrow make up less than 50% of BA’s customer-facing team.

British Airways responded: "We’re extremely disappointed with the result and that the unions have chosen to take this course of action.

"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.

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"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."

This comes as about 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out this week.

The RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch has warned that rail strikes could "escalate" unless a settlement is reached for all workers in the industry.