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London Heathrow Worker Strike Looming, Flight Interruptions are Possible

A vote to strike over pay rules has been passed by the more than 4,000 workers at London’s Heathrow Airport. The strike would be among work-groups which include customer service, security staff, and engineering. The busy summer season is not a good time for Heathrow Airport strike interruptions.

The strike has been planned for July 26, 27, August 5, 6, 23, and 24. The Unite Union says the walkout could create “summer travel chaos” at Heathrow.

Airport management, however, said the airport has contingency plans in place to remain open and to operate safely.

Heathrow Airport strike interruptions unresolved issues

Unite said that eight union ballot votes were cast in favor of support for the strike action. This as a response to an 18-month pay raise rejection, asking for an average of a 2.7% raise.

According to Unite’s regional coordinating union officer Wayne King, there is deepening anger over pay for those essential to running a smooth operation at Heathrow Airport.

Other factors involved in the dispute focused on different pay rates for the same job at the airport. Plus, there is a discontent with the pay package that Heathrow Airport boss John Holland-Kaye is receiving.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s Airport Boss

Holland-Kaye received a 103.2% pay increase last year. His 2017 compensation was 2.1 million British pounds ($2.6 million USD). His 2018 pay went up to 4.2 million British pounds ($5.3 million USD).

In comparison, the current pay-offer for Heathrow’s workers was only 3.75 British pounds ($4.71 USD) a day extra for its workers at the lowest pay scales.

Heathrow Airport management

Heathrow’s Management has asked the union to come back to the bargaining table to attempt to resolve the workers’ pay dispute.

Management pointed out that they had proposed a progressive pay package of at least a 4.6% pay increase to more than 70% of its frontline colleagues.

The total package offered to the workers is above the UK’s Retail Prices Index (RPI). That, they said, is designed to increase the wages of lower paid colleagues.

Should air passengers brace for impact?

The tense labor situation at the London Heathrow Airport could still change and even get resolved before the strike deadline. But, at the moment it does not look optimistic.

According to the airport, their contingency plans could still allow them to operate during one of the busiest periods of the year, during the high traffic summer travel season.

Airport management also says that they will be working with their airline partners to keep disruptions to passengers at a minimum.

If you are planning on flying in or out of London during the union-announced intent to strike dates you should make plans. You may wish to make some changes to your flight schedule at this time. Otherwise, the potential London Heathrow worker strike may put a dent in your summer travel plans.

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