London Heathrow ground handlers go on 72-hour strike over pay

Around 350 ground handlers at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) have begun a 72-hour strike on November 18, 2022

The strike, which began at 04:00 local time and is expected to end at 04:00 on November 21, 2022, is over a pay dispute. 

The employees are members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest trade union, and are employed by private contractor Menzies.

“Unite’s members at Menzies play a critical role in ensuring that planes operate safely at Heathrow,” Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary said in a statement

“Menzies is a wealthy company and it can fully afford to pay its workers a decent pay increase.

 Unite’s members at Menzies will receive the union’s comprehensive support,” Graham added.

According to Unite, Menzies had made pay offers below Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation.

Unite says delays may be inevitable, but that the dispute is of Menzies’ “own making”.

“The strike action will inevitably cause serious delays for passengers at Heathrow but this dispute is entirely of Menzies’ own making,” Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said in a statement.

Hall added: “It has had every opportunity to make our members a fair pay offer, but it has stubbornly refused to do so.”

A LHR spokesperson told local media that affected airlines have already put contingency plans into place, but flight cancellations are not expected

The dispute will likely affect flights leaving Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4. The strike action will particularly affect the following airlines: Air Canada (ADH2), American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), Swiss Air, Air Portugal, Austrian airlines, Qantas, Egypt Air, Aer Lingus and Finnair.

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