Fears of more travel chaos as British Airways staff vote on strike action

‘I urge BA to get a grip and restore these workers’ pay immediately,’ says Unite general secretary

<p>A customer photo of British Airways check-in queues last Friday </p>

A customer photo of British Airways check-in queues last Friday

British Airways staff at Heathrow are set to vote on strike action next month, raising more fears about travel chaos for holidaymakers this summer.

The GMB and Unite unions are both balloting workers due to a row over pay.

Unite said that Heathrow staff had received a 10 per cent pay cut during the pandemic, which BA bosses have refused to reverse - despite restoring their own pay to pre-pandemic levels.

The Unite ballot, covering about 500 staff, will open on 7 June and close on 27 June.

If strike action is voted for, it is set to go ahead in July, the start of the peak summer travel season as the UK’s school holidays commence.

The general secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, said: “British Airways used the cover of Covid to brutally cut members’ pay.

“BA has now reversed the pay cuts imposed on management but refuses to do this for our members.

“This is disgraceful. Unite will not allow our members to be treated as a second-class workforce.

“A strike by our members will make an immediate impact on the service to customers, so I urge BA to get a grip and restore these workers’ pay immediately.”

A spokesperson for British Airways called the vote “extremely disappointing”.

“We have received notification that some of our customer service colleagues will be participating in a ballot for industrial action. This is extremely disappointing,” the spokesperson told The Independent.

“After a deeply difficult two years which saw the airline lose more than £4bn, these colleagues were offered a 10 per cent payment for this year which was rejected.

“Other parts of the organisation accepted the same offer, acknowledging the position the business still finds itself in.

“We remain fully committed to talks with our trade unions about their concerns and we hope that together we can find a way to reach an agreement in the best interests of our people and our customers.”

British Airways has been cancelling over 100 flights a day in recent weeks, with 140 cancelled yesterday including departures to Amsterdam, Malaga and Venice.

Flight cancellations are pre-planned and passengers have been given advance notice – with some departures removed from schedules many weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, passengers last week reported longer than usual queues at BA’s check-in counters.

One British Airways passenger at Gatwick posted a photo of a queue running out into the terminal corridor, beside the moving walkways, and alleged they had been waiting for three hours to check-in.

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