A strike threat by around 700 Heathrow check-in staff that has been hanging over British Airways since June has just been called off after the majority of workers voted in favour of a “vastly improved” pay offer.
The check-in staff had voted overwhelmingly in support of staging a strike over BA’s refusal to restore a 10 per cent pay cut that was forced upon airport staff during the pandemic.
The Unite and GMB unions which represent the workers claimed they didn’t want a pay rise and were simply trying to reverse a temporary pay cut. Reports that BA had already restored the pay of management grade employees had further angered front-line workers.
The Unite union said the new pay offer was worth 13 per cent in total but the pay increases will be made in several stages. Shift pay reductions will also be reversed as part of the settlement.
“This is a great result for our check-in members at British Airways,” commented Sharon Graham, secretary general of the Unite union. “By standing together, they have forced a corporate giant like BA to do the right thing and restore levels of pay slashed in the pandemic.”
GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said workers had never wanted to strike over the busy summer holidays but that they were willing to “fight for what was right”.
The union had warned that any walkout would have crippled BA’s already delay-prone Heathrow operation. Around 75 per cent of GMB members who took part in the ballot, voted in favour of the deal.
A similar deal has been offered to other union-represented workgroups at the airline but those ballots have not yet been finalised.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.