After negotiations stalled, the carrier shaved 300 flights from its Easter schedule.
With ongoing negotiations stalled between the UK’s busiest hub, London Heathrow (LHR), and airport security, strikes are looming. British Airways has canceled approximately 300 flights over the Easter travel rush to ease congestion at its Terminal 5 home.
1,400 security staff have threatened to walk off the job from March 31st as demand negotiations stalled last Thursday. The industrial action comes from the Unite Union, which covers many airport security staff based at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The strikes are set to take place between March 31st and April 9th.
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5% of the schedule shaved
The British carrier will be axing around 5% of its usual daily schedule, with 16 short-haul daily return flights on the chopping block. The airline has said that customers affected will be accommodated onto other services within 24 hours of their cancellation or could apply for a full refund.
Photo: Markus Mainka I Shutterstock.
Union members enforcing the strike have noted that they expect a minimum of 10% in increased wages after many years of delay and pay freezes instigated during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Union and staff represented operate solely for T5 and Campus Security (checking all cargo entering the airport), this directly affects British Airways, as T5 is its home base. As reported by the Guardian, a British Airways spokesperson released this statement:
“Following Heathrow’s requirement for us to reduce the number of passengers traveling during the period of its employees’ proposed strike action, we’ve regrettably had to make a small number of adjustments to our schedule. Our teams continue working closely with Heathrow to ensure that our customers’ journeys run smoothly.”
Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying
As noted above, British Airways is expected to be the carrier most affected by the strike. However, Heathrow Airports Limited has encouraged other carriers to limit operations to ease congestion and delays over the strike period as well. British Airways also advised passengers that they can check their hand luggage free of charge in a plea to alleviate congestion at security.
Heathrow deploying more staff
As the airport prepares for what looks to be a challenging few weeks, the Guardian reported that discussions broke down on Thursday between the airport and the Union to avoid the strikes. However, no agreement was made, and the strikes are set to proceed. In a statement from Heathrow Airports Limited (HAL), the airport plans to deploy 1,000 more staff to help ease the congestion expected,
“We will not let these unnecessary strikes impact the hard-earned holidays of our passengers. Our contingency plans will keep the airport operating as normal throughout. We are deploying 1,000 additional colleagues and the entire management team who will be in the terminals providing assistance to passengers over the busy Easter getaway.
“As at any busy time, it may take a little longer than usual to get through security, but this will be well managed and kept flowing.”
Living in ‘poverty.’
The Union has claimed the airport pays its workers ‘poverty wages’ compared to senior staff enjoying huge paychecks. The move to strike was made out of ‘need not greed,’ as reiterated by Unite Union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Sean Doyle
- United Kingdom
London Heathrow Airport
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- United Kingdom
- John Holland-Kaye
- Passenger Count :
- 19,392,178 (2021)
- Runways :
- 09L/27R – 3,902m (12,802ft) |09R/27L – 3,660m (12,008ft)
- Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 |Terminal 4 |Terminal 5