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British Airways staff at Heathrow are set to go on strike this summer

Airline employees have voted in favour of a walkout over pay

Sophie Dickinson
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Sophie Dickinson
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Travel chaos has been a real theme in the UK this summer. There have been endless airport queues, flight cancellations and suspended services for months. And now it looks like British Airways workers at Heathrow are going to stage a walkout this summer in a dispute over pay. 

More than 95 percent of Unite and GMB union members – who are mostly check-in and ground staff – voted in favour of industrial action during the peak holiday season. The dispute stems from the airline company’s ‘fire and rehire’ practice, which cut workers’ pay during the height of the pandemic. It’s estimated that employees lost out on 10 percent of their wages as a result.

A spokesperson for GMB also pointed out that the chief executive of BA’s parent group, Luis Gallego, is in line for a £4.9 million payout this year if he hits all his targets. That, plus the cost-of-living crisis and the wage cut, is deeply shitty for the majority female workforce. 

But a walkout isn’t totally inevitable, and the union was keen to stress that talks with company bosses could yield results. A spokesperson said: ‘It’s not too late to save the summer holidays – other BA workers have had their pay cuts reversed, do the same for ground and check-in staff and this industrial action can be nipped in the bud.’

The news comes on the second day of rail strikes in the UK, after last-ditch talks collapsed. As inflation rises in the UK, expect a whole load more industrial action. And if you’re sick of your own working conditions? Join a union. 

ICYMI: here are 10 ways to make sure you avoid holiday hell this summer.

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