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Heathrow refuelling firm face strikes

Heathrow major refuelling company AFS facing summer strikes as Unite members bid to end three year pay freeze
UniteLive, Tuesday, July 5th, 2022


Major airlines – including Virgin Atlantic Delta and KLM – could be hit as workers act against wage cuts of more than 15 per cent.

Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed by Aviation Fuel Services (AFS) Ltd at Heathrow airport have announced strikes later this month in a dispute over pay.

The workers are angry at the company’s refusal to table a decent pay offer having gone without a pay increase for three years, which has seen their incomes fall by 15.5 per cent.

Unite’s members at AFS recorded a 93 per cent yes vote for strike action on a 92 per cent turnout.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “AFS needs to offer its workers a decent pay rise. Oil and gas companies are making massive profits so AFS has the wherewithal to make a proper offer. AFS workers have sustained wage cuts for three years so it’s time AFS rewarded their sacrifices.

“Our members at AFS will receive Unite’s complete support until this dispute is resolved and workers receive a decent pay increase.”

The workers will stage an initial 72 hour walkout beginning at 5am on Thursday, July 21 and ending at 04:59am on Sunday, July 24.

The strike action will cause considerable disruption and delays throughout Heathrow. AFS provides fuelling services to over 70 airlines at the airport including Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, United, SAS, Air France, Emirates, Delta, JAL, KLM and Singapore Airlines.

AFS is a joint venture operation whose partners include BP, Total Energies, Q8 Aviation and Valero Energy. Energy companies have seen their profits boom as gas and petrol prices soar.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said, “Strike action will inevitably cause considerable disruption across Heathrow but this strike is entirely of AFS’s own making. Unite has given the company every opportunity to make a decent pay offer and it has failed to do so.

“Even now strike action and the resulting disruption can be avoided if AFS returns to the negotiating table and makes an offer that meets our member’ expectations.”

By Barckley Sumner

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