Delays to aircraft taking off and passengers disembarking can be expected on Friday (12 September) when ground handlers strike for 24 hours at three Heathrow terminals in a dispute about pay.
Talks between Unite, the country’s largest union, which represents more than 500 ground handlers, and the management of ASIG broke down yesterday (Monday) over the delayed 2013 pay award which should have been implemented 14 months ago. ASIG is a subsidiary of BBA, the largest ground handler at Heathrow.
The strike will run from 00.01 on Friday for 24 hours and the airlines affected will be at Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Ground handling staff cover such duties as check-in and baggage handling, vital to the smooth running of Heathrow, which is in the top three of the world’s busiest airports.
The deal on offer is 5.5 per cent over two years, which Unite said was unacceptable, given the soaring cost of living.
Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said that: "The prospect of incipient chaos for thousands of passengers should concentrate the minds of management and get them around the table again to negotiate a fair settlement.
“While the company was awarded the privilege of being the main ground handler at Terminal 2 and has grown since 2013 by winning many new contracts, it has forgotten the staff who have contributed so greatly to that success.
“We are still negotiating on the 2013 pay award which should have been paid in July last year and are now having to negotiate a two-year deal as this year’s anniversary date has already passed.”
Unite said that the company’s foot dragging was compounded by the decline in staffing levels, the increase in overtime that employees notch up and customer-facing pressure when the baggage moving equipment fails.
Michelle Braveboy added: “More importantly, given the previous history in regards to pay talks, assurances were given last year that we would not be in this position a year later. This promise has been comprehensively broken by ASIG.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.