World Cup travellers facing Heathrow flight woe

Workers at Dnata and Menzies take strike action in Qatar Airways pay row

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Unite members employed by Dnata and Menzies at Heathrow will take three days of strike action beginning on Friday November 18, in a dispute over pay.

The strike action will begin in the early hours of Friday and it will be completed in the early hours of Monday November 21. It will lead to disruption, cancellations and delays at Heathrow terminals 2, 3 and 4. The strike action will particularly affect Qatar Airways, which has scheduled an additional 10 flights a week during the World Cup.

The strike action involves 700 workers employed by Dnata and Menzies. The workforce carry out a wide variety of roles, including ground-handling, airside transport and cargo.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Our members at Dnata and Menzies undertake highly challenging roles and are simply seeking a decent pay rise. Both companies are highly profitable and can fully afford to make a fair pay increase. The owners and directors are simply lining their own pockets rather than paying their workers fairly.

“The workers at Heathrow will have Unite’s complete support during this dispute.”

Other leading airlines that will be hit heavily by the strike action include Virgin, Singapore Airlines, Cathay-Pacific and Emirates. Passengers returning to the United States for the Thanksgiving holiday are also set to be adversely affected.

Both Dnata and Menzies have only been prepared to offer pay cuts disguised as pay increases. Dnata has offered its workers a five per cent increase, while the offers for Menzies workers vary between two and six per cent. All the offers are far below the real rate of inflation (RPI), which currently stands at 12.6 per cent.

Both companies operate globally and are highly lucrative. Menzies’ latest accounts reveal it made a profit of £69m while Dnata’s profit was £27m.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said, “Strike action will inevitably cause disruption, delays and cancellations to flights throughout Heathrow, with travellers to the World Cup particularly affected. However, this dispute is entirely of Dnata and Menzies own making. They have had every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but have chosen not to do so.”

By Barckley Sumner