British Airways: Heathrow check-in and ground staff to strike next month

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Around 700 British Airways staff at the airline’s main hub, Heathrow, are expected to walk out next month after voting overwhelmingly for industrial action over a pay claim.

Members of the GMB union voted, with 95 per cent in favour of a strike. Members of the Unite union are also expected to vote for strike action.

The GMB union says the members who voted to strike are primarily low paid women.

They are demanding that BA reinstates a 10 per cent cut taken from them during the pandemic. They claim “bosses pay has returned to pre-pandemic levels,” with Luis Gallego – chief executive for BA’s parent company, IAG – in line for a £4.9m payout this year.

In addition, say the unions, these front-line workers are on the receiving end of verbal and sometimes physical abuse from passengers, with frequent confrontations.

Because two weeks’ notice of industrial action must be given to an employer, the earliest that a stoppage could begin is 8 July.

Insiders have suggested that a first bout of strike action could take place over the weekend of 9 and 10 July, coinciding with the first weekend of summer holidays for many public schools in England.

No dates have yet been confirmed by the trade unions, but one BA insider said the intention was to disrupt the journeys of high-spending customers. “They’re going straight for the BA Club World demographic,” the source said.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “After a deeply difficult two years which saw the business lose more than £4bn, these colleagues were offered a 10 per cent payment for this year which was rejected.

“We remain fully committed to talks with our trade unions about their concerns and we hope that together we can find a way to reach an agreement in the best interests of our people and our customers.”

The Independent understands that the 10 per cent offered by BA was a one-off payment that would not be consolidated into basic pay.

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