BA’s Heathrow check-in staff vote to strike over pay dispute

By Anthony O. Goriainoff

Britain’s Unite and GMB unions said on Thursday that British Airways check-in staff at London’s Heathrow Airport had voted to strike as calls to reverse a 10% pay cut had launched during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unite said it was giving BA a chance to reverse the 10% pay cut before announcing strikes that would lead to severe flight disruptions this summer.

The union said the dispute is the result of BA – which is owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group SA – reversing the 10% pay cut imposed on management during the pandemic, but not restoring pre-pandemic salaries for staff at registration.

GMB said workers were angry that their wages had not been reinstated despite management having done so, and that while other BA employees had received a 10% bonus, check-in staff did not had nothing.

“It’s not too late to save the summer holidays – other BA employees have had their pay cuts reversed, so do ground and check-in staff and this industrial action can be stifled nipped in the bud,” said GMB country manager Nadine Houghton.

British Airways said that despite the difficult environment and losses of more than 4 billion pounds ($4.90 billion) during the pandemic, it had made an offer to pay 10% which was accepted by the majority of staff. The company did not provide further details.

The airline said it was disappointed with the outcome of the negotiations.

“We are fully committed to working together to find a solution, because to deliver to our customers and rebuild our business, we need to work as a team. We will of course keep our customers informed of what this means for them as the situation evolves, said British Airways.

The news comes after cabin crew at easyJet in Spain announced a nine-day strike in July in response to stalled negotiations between employees and the low-cost airline.

Write to Anthony O. Goriainoff at [email protected]