Heathrow ground handlers in strike action

Heathrow braced for major disruption as Menzies ground handlers begin strike action in pay dispute

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Heathrow Airport braced for major disruption today as ground handlers employed by Menzies take strike action.

The 350 workers, who are members of Unite began a 72 hour stoppage at 4am on Friday, November 18.

The dispute will lead to disruption, delays and cancellation for flights leaving Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4. The strike action will particularly affect Air Canada, American Airlines, Luthansa, Swiss Air, Air Portugal, Austrian airlines, Qantas, Egypt Air, Aer Lingus and Finnair.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite’s members at Menzies play a critical role in ensuring that planes operate safely at Heathrow. Menzies is a wealthy company and it can fully afford to pay its workers a decent pay increase. It is greed not need which is preventing a fair pay offer being made.

“Unite’s members at Menzies will receive the union’s comprehensive support.”

The strike is a result of Menzies making derisory pay offers to the ground handlers. All of the offers made to date are far below the current real inflation rate of 14.2 per cent (RPI) and amount to a substantial real terms pay cut.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall added, “The strike action will inevitably cause serious delays for passengers at Heathrow but this dispute is entirely of Menzies own making. It has had every opportunity to make our members’ a fair pay offer, but it has stubbornly refused to do so.”

Strikes scheduled to take place involving workers at Dnata have been called off after members accepted an improved offer. Strike action involving Menzies workers employed in its cargo and trucking sections has been suspended to allow the workers to be balloted on a significantly improved offer. Due to the Dnata and Menzies Cargo strike not going ahead, passengers with Qatar Airways going to the World Cup will not be directly affected by the dispute.

By Barckley Sumner