Hundreds of British Airways ground staff working in London Heathrow have voted to strike in a wage dispute. Workers in Terminals 3 and 5 are scheduled to leave in July.
A limited number of Ryanair crew members have threatened to strike in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy, and airlines and airports are struggling to scale up to meet their travel needs.
These are important questions and answers.
Who are the British Airways workers involved in this conflict?
700 BA personnel are known as “on the wings” ground staff at Terminals 3 and 5 at Heathrow Airport. They work on the land side at check-in (before security searches), manage bookings, check documents including Covid tests and vaccination certificates, and walk the floor to help passengers.
At Airside, we operate boarding gates to support travelers. Most are women and are represented by the GMB and Unite the Union.
They overwhelmingly vote for strikes over wage claims.
Why are they so impressive?
During the aviation slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, their wages, like other British Airways employee groups, were reduced by 10 percent. The BA provided a 10% lump sum this year, but workers want to return their cash to their base salary.
Nadine Houghton, GMB’s state director, said 10% were “stolen from them last year” and “boss wages have returned to pre-pandemic levels.”
In addition, she says, these frontline workers are often verbally and sometimes physically abused by passengers and are often in conflict during times of turmoil.
“GMB members at Heathrow are suffering from immense abuse to deal with the travel disruptions caused by staff shortages and IT failures,” she said.
British Airways said it received a 10% bonus and was accepted by the majority of other colleagues, despite losses of more than £ 4 billion (€ 4.65 billion) during the coronavirus pandemic. , Says “very disappointed” in the results. ..
When do they leave?
Union officials have not yet announced a date. The earliest possible suspension is July 8th, as the employer must be notified of the labor dispute two weeks in advance.
Some insiders suggest that the first strike match may take place on the weekends of July 9th and 10th, in line with the first weekend of summer vacation in many public schools in the UK. ..
A British Airways insider said the intention was to disrupt the journey of high-value customers. “They want to influence the family holidays of frequent flyer, BA’s most important demographic,” sources said.
However, GMB said, “The strike dates will be confirmed within a few days, but it is likely to be during the peak summer vacation.” If there is no announcement by the weekend, the start date is likely to be Friday, July 22nd. This is the start date of many school holidays in England and Wales.
What will the effect be?
Houghton said: “Holiday makers are facing massive turmoil thanks to British Airways pig heads.” Staff involved have said that over the past two years, Covid- at more than 100 British Airways destinations from Heathrow Airport. He has accumulated a great deal of expertise in 19 travel bans. If these checks are delayed, operations may stop quickly.
BA can choose to preemptively cancel some flights from Heathrow Airport to relieve pressure on the terminal.
However, in addition to the ground staff involved in this conflict, the BA has many other workers who play the same role. In addition, management and other staff may be drafted.
Closest to the current controversy was an informal walkout involving ground staff in 2005 to assist catering workers. At that time, the operation of BA’s Heathrow Airport was paralyzed. However, much more of the passenger process is automated.
In addition, British Airways currently operates about 10% less flights than expected after canceling thousands of departures due to lack of resources. This reduces the operational burden.
Will the strike affect other British Airways locations?
At other locations in the capital, Gatwick Airport and London City Airport, ground staff duties are outsourced and have no effect. Confusion at Heathrow Airport with regional airports in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and abroad has a knock-on effect.
Booked for British Airways from Heathrow Airport in July. How worried should I be?
It is impossible to say at this stage. Reconciliation is completely possible: the staff involved are far from radicals. British Airways said: “We are committed to working together to find a solution.”
The strike dates have not been announced and the BA has not yet outlined plans to address the outage.
European Air Passenger Rights Regulations allow anyone with a canceled flight to board the plane as soon as possible with any airline.
Trailfinders, a giant travel agency, pre-books and tells its customers: If this goes on, the details will continue.
“If a flight is affected, we will contact you and do everything we can to find a replacement for you.”
Is there anything I can do now?
There is no point in calling or sending a message to British Airways. The airline has nothing to say other than “currently the flight is scheduled to operate normally.”
If your trip is time-critical, you can book another flight, but you will only get a refund if the flight turns out to be landing.
Do I need to travel with carry-on baggage only if the strike goes on?
If possible, it’s always a wise idea. Check-in can be bypassed, eliminating the possibility of the bag being accidentally sent to the other side of the world (or left behind at Heathrow). You don’t have to wait for your luggage on arrival. And you often save money.
British Airways has the most generous allowances of any British airline, allowing two bags each weighing 23 kg. As a mitigation, passengers may be required to bring only carry-on baggage in the event of a strike.
However, this can lead to problems. On flights that are already crowded, overhead lockers will not be able to handle all your baggage.
What does the government say?
When asked about the Heathrow conflict, a Downing Street spokesman said:
“Passengers will not be confused anymore. Strikes will only add to the misery they face at the airport.
“DfT will clearly work closely together to consider emergency measures that BA can implement. BA will take emergency measures to reduce confusion as much as possible and refund passengers in the event of confusion. I’m looking forward to it. “