Ground handlers at Heathrow airport are to strike on Friday in a dispute over pay. The Unite members will be taking action after talks broke down with ACAS over the delayed 2013 pay award which should have been implemented 14 months ago. The strike wil …

airplaneGround handlers at Heathrow airport are to strike on Friday in a dispute over pay.

The Unite members will be taking action after talks broke down with ACAS over the delayed 2013 pay award which should have been implemented 14 months ago.

The strike will run from midnight on Friday, with terminals one, two and three being affected. Ground handling staff cover such duties as check-in and baggage handling, vital to the smooth running of Heathrow.

The deal on offer is 5.5 per cent over two years, which Unite said was unacceptable, given the soaring cost of living.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: ‘The prospect of incipient chaos for thousands of passengers should concentrate the minds of management and get them around the table again to negotiate a fair settlement.

“While the company was awarded the privilege of being the main ground handler at terminal two and has grown since 2013 by winning many new contracts, they have forgotten the staff who have contributed so greatly to that success.

 “We are still negotiating on the 2013 pay award which should have been paid in July last year and are now having to negotiate a two-year deal as this year’s anniversary date has already passed.”

Unite said that the company’s foot dragging was compounded by the decline in staffing levels, the increase in overtime that employees notch up and customer-facing pressure when the baggage moving equipment fails.

Michelle Braveboy added: “More importantly, given the previous history in regards to pay talks, assurances were given last year that we would not be in this position a year later. This promise has been comprehensively broken by ASIG.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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