Heathrow is facing pre-Christmas bag handlers strikes

Heathrow Airport disruptions for pre-Christmas travelers will occur after the strike by baggage handlers began on 16 December.

A strike of 72 hours will impact flights by 10 airlines departing Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 on Tuesday, April 4.

This dispute centers around an offer of pay made to cargo workers, but not extended to baggage handlers.

According to the Unite union, groundhandling employees at Menzies Aviation were not offered a fair pay package.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite said that Menzies had made an offer for fair wages to one section of workers. However, she isn’t willing to offer a comparable offer to ground staff.

Miguel Gomez Sjunnesson is Menzies Aviation’s executive vice president Europe. He stated that they are prepared for industrial action, and work closely with key partners in order to create robust contingency plans.

We remain determined to seek a solution to the pay negotiations in our ground handling operation so that our employees can get their increase now.

The three-day strike is likely to affect Air Canada, American Airlines and Lufthansa as well as Swiss Air, Swiss Air, Air Portugal and Austrian Airlines.

Menzies employed 350 workers who received a lesser pay package than the cargo workers.

The union announced that Cargo workers received a pay raise of 9.5% backdated to May 20,22, and an additional 1% starting in January 2023.

The union stated that the Menzies ground workers were offered a flat-rate increase, which amounts to a pay cut for all employees. However, the real inflation rate (RPI), currently stands at 14.2%.

This action comes after a similar strike in November that saw three days of strikes at the airport.

This strike could have been wider with more ground-handling employees planning to walk off. However, Dnata (a rival transport handling company) agreed to a better pay offer for 350 Heathrow workers.

Menzies Aviation stated that the November strike at Heathrow involved approximately 250 workers in ground handling and it had little impact on the operations.

Heathrow spokeswoman said that the airport is aware of Menzies’ industrial actions. The airport spokesperson said that it encouraged its partners to carry out their contingency plans and would support them in minimizing the effect on passengers if the strike goes ahead.


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