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Friday, September 22, 2023

Heathrow Passengers Facing More Delays and Disruption as Baggage Engineers Now Vote to Strike

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Passengers flying through Heathrow Airport are being warned of the possibility of disruption and delays over the Easter holidays after yet another group of workers decided to strike over wages and conditions.

After failing to reach an agreement on a new salary offer, baggage maintenance engineers will strike for three days on April 8th. Vanderlande Industries, an engineering firm that supplies luggage services at Heathrow, employs the engineers.

Because Vanderlande is in charge of managing baggage systems throughout the airport, any disruption may have a significant impact on any airline that uses Heathrow. Passengers on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Emirates would presumably be disproportionately affected by the strike.

The Unite union, which represents workers throughout the airport, is organizing the strike. A threatened walkout by British Airways catering staff was averted at the last minute earlier this month after contractor DO & CO agreed to a 14 percent pay raise for truck drivers.

“Vanderlande is cashing in on the travel sector’s recovery but refusing our members a decent pay rise even as the cost-of-living soars. As this resounding vote for action shows, this is not on,” commented Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham.

Despite the pandemic’s tremendous impact on the airline industry, Graham is asking that firms begin to increase employee compensation.

“Employers across the sector are on notice that our members are ready to fight back against the sustained and opportunistic attacks against jobs, pay and conditions that have blighted this industry for far too long,” Graham said on Monday.

Because Heathrow Airport refuses to pay more for its services, Vanderlande has instructed unionized employees that wages must be frozen. The corporation, on the other hand, is said to have found money to pay non-unionized personnel extra.

Around 160 personnel, including technicians, duty engineers, process supervisors, and control room operators, could go on strike. Heathrow’s luggage system may come to a halt as a result of the strike.

The airline sector as a whole is struggling to find enough pilots to keep up with the resurgence in travel demand. Workers are attempting to take advantage of the situation by pushing for better pay and working conditions, while some businesses claim that repaying the debt incurred during the pandemic will take years.

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