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British Airways Faces Mass Flight Cancellations As Catering Staff Announce Walk Out

British Airways Faces Mass Flight Cancellations As Catering Staff Announce Walk Out

British Airways passengers face the possibility of a fresh wave of disruption and mass flight cancellations after outsourced catering staff announced two days of strike action on March 4 and 5 in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The powerful Unite union has warned that the strike not only threatens to leave passengers hungry but could also ground the vast majority of flights because food has to be loaded onboard flights for pilots and cabin crew as part of their contracts.

Around 100 catering truck drivers employed by the upmarket airline catering firm DO & CO intend to stage a 48-hour walkout after voting 94 per cent in favour of strike action following failed talks with the company.

“Strike action will cause major disruption for BA and other airlines as pilots and cabin crew are required to have food on board as part of their contracts,” commented regional officer Shereen Higginson, a regional officer for the union.

“The impact would be most severe on flights of more than six hours in duration – three hours to the destination and three back to the UK. No food on board equals no flights,” she continued.

The union blasted DO & CO for paying staff “some of the lowest rates in the London region” while claiming to treat their employees like family.

If last-ditch talks fail to break the current deadlock then the HGV drivers will walk out from 4 am on March 4 through to 11:59 pm on March 5.

DO & CO also provide catering services to a number of other airlines at Heathrow, including the Dubai-based Emirates, which currently serves the airport with six daily flights.

British Airways first teamed up with DO & CO in 2018 when it hired the Viennese company to help redesign it’s Club World long-haul dining concept and menu. DO & CO was once again brought in to redevelop BA’s short-haul Business Class menus before the company was signed up to cater all of BA’s flights out of Heathrow.

In recent days, British Airways has faced significant disruption from two storms that battered the UK and forced the airline to ground hundreds of flights. The weather had a knock-on effect on staffing levels that left thousands of passengers without their baggage.

In a grovelling apology, the airline admitted that it had “let down” customers and promised to get bags reunited with their owners as quickly as possible.

There was even more disruption on Tuesday morning when the airline suffered another IT meltdown. Thankfully, on this occasion, the outage of relatively short-lived.

View Comment (1)
  • Mr Doyle has inherited a sh*t soup with so many aspects of the business destroyed by the management strategy and operational policy Inthe past decade.
    It would be wonderful if they were able to return to past glories (or even just improve the basics like customer contact, reliable catering & functional IT. However without real investment fro IAG to which it has contributed such a massive proportion of their profits, I fear that reversing the plummet to the bottom is an unwinnable task.
    We now live in a world where videoconferencing replaces a significant proportion of business travel, many of the highvalue customers are deserting because the service is so poor or as they have tried the competition. At the other end the experience is in many areas inferior to lo cost carriers but at a higher fare.

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