Heathrow Christmas period strike action to go ahead

The Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 Arrivals hall.
Roger Davies, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – A proposed strike action at London Heathrow Airport by Menzies ground handers set for Friday December 16 will go ahead after workers rejected the latest pay offer.

The workers have decisively rejected Menzies’ latest pay offer of a four per cent increase backdated to May and then a further 6.5 per cent pay increase from 1 January 2023.

The workers are seeking an increase of 13 per cent for 2022 alone.

The strike action will affect passengers at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and involves ground staff of Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4.

Heathrow Airport strike dates

At the time of publication, a 72-hour strike action is set to take place from 04.00 on Friday December 16.

A further 72-hour strike will then take place from Thursday 29 December and will end at 04.00 on Sunday 1 January 2023.

The post-Christmas stoppage will also coincide with the planned walkout by Border Force Staff.

In a statement put out by the union, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a classic case of an employer that can fully afford to pay workers a fair pay increase but has chosen not to.”

“Menzies needs to stop making excuses and make a pay offer that meets our members’ expectations.”

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: “Heathrow passengers need to brace themselves for fresh disruption at the airport purely because of Menzies intransigence.”

“Strike action is being taken as a last resort because Menzies has only been prepared to offer our members a miserable pay increase that in no way reflects the cost of living.”

Menzies statement

Responding to the decision to initiate strike action, Menzies indicated their desire to resolve the dispute equitably. Miguel Gomez Sjunnesson, EVP Europe, Menzies Aviation said: “We are extremely disappointed that Unite has rejected the pay increase despite GMB accepting the offer.”

“Our offer of a 10.5% salary increase is extremely competitive and reflects feedback from our employees. It is a great shame that as a result of Unite rejecting the offer, strike action will now fall on one of the busiest weekends of the year as people travel to meet family and friends for Christmas.”

“We are well prepared for industrial action and have been working closely with key partners to put in place robust contingency plans.”

“We remain committed to ensuring that our employees receive their increase as soon as possible and hope to be able to resolve this matter soon.”

Airlines affected

A previous strike action taken last month by Menzies ground handlers caused considerable disruption and delays to flights across Heathrow.

Air Canada, American Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Air Portugal, Austrian Airlines, Qantas, Egypt Air, Aer Lingus and Finnair were some of the most affected airlines previously.

About Unite

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham. 

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