Outsourced food personnel has scheduled two days of strike action on March 4 and 5 in a dispute over wages and conditions, putting British Airways passengers at risk of further disruption and mass flight cancellations.
Because food must be loaded onboard flights for pilots and cabin personnel as part of their contracts, the powerful Unite union has warned that the strike might not only leave passengers hungry but also ground the vast majority of flights.
Following failed talks with the corporation, almost 100 catering truck drivers employed by the luxury airline catering firm DO & CO plan to organize a 48-hour walkout.
“Strike action will cause major disruption for BA and other airlines as pilots and cabin crew are required to have food onboard 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.
DO & CO was chastised by the union for paying its employees “some of the lowest rates in the London region” while claiming to treat them like family.
If last-ditch talks fail to resolve the impasse, HGV drivers will go on strike from 4 a.m. on March 4 to 11:59 p.m. on March 5.
DO & CO also caters to a number of other airlines at Heathrow, including the Dubai-based Emirates, which now operates six daily flights from the airport.
DO & CO first collaborated with British Airways in 2018, when the Viennese firm was asked to assist remodel its Club World long-haul dining concept and menu. Before being hired to cater all of BA’s flights out of Heathrow, DO & CO was called in to redesign BA’s short-haul Business Class menus.
British Airways has been severely hampered in recent days by two storms that ravaged the UK, forcing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights. The weather had an impact on personnel levels, resulting in thousands of people being stranded without their luggage.
The airline apologized profusely, admitting that it had “failed down” passengers and promising to reconnect bags with their owners as soon as possible.
The airline’s IT system went down again on Tuesday morning, causing considerably more hardship. Thankfully, the disruption was just temporary on this occasion.