British Airways staff at London Heathrow represented by the GMB & Unite unions have voted in favour of strike action.
Around 700 GMB staff were balloted. They voted 95% in favour of strike action. The turnout was 81%.
A similar ballot of around 500 BA staff at Heathrow represented by the Unite union voted 94.7% in favour of strike action.
The dispute with BA is over pay. The unions claim that a 10% pay cut imposed on ground staff by the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been reinstated. Check-in staff also not received a 10% bonus given to other BA staff.
What Happens If A Strike Is Called?
No strike dates have been announced. Any strike action will result in disruption at Heathrow.
By law the unions are required to give 14 days’ notice of strike action. The GMB & Unite have intimated they will target late July / early August. This of course coincides with the start of school holidays and the peak summer getaway.
History has shown BA will not take things to chance and will cancel flights in advance. Routes with multiple flights a day are most likely at risk of cancellation.
Flights at London Gatwick & London City will not be affected.
As this dispute is over pay there is every chance that a settlement can be reached in advance of any strike action. This is regardless of the rhetoric in public. Not that this gives any comfort to passengers whose flights are at risk of cancellation.
In a statement released to the media BA has said:
“After a deeply difficult two years which saw the business lose more than £4bn, these colleagues were offered a 10% 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.”
BA will not give an ongoing commentary on negotiations. It has put out guidance for passengers on ba.com
The Unite and GMB unions, which represent some of our colleagues at Heathrow Airport, have told us they may plan industrial action at some point this summer.
We are fully committed to working 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 you updated about what this means as the situation evolves.