Britain’s largest union, Unite called on airport ground handling company dnata to avoid the threat of a two-day strike next week by entering into talks at the conciliation service Acas to resolve a dispute over a ‘divisive’ pay offer.
The call comes as Unite announced that ground and cargo handlers working for the company at Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick had overwhelmingly backed strike action in a ballot by 83 per cent.
Anger has mounted at dnata over the imposition of a pay offer which sees supervisors get 4.5 per cent – double the 2.25 per cent of other staff.
Accusing dnata of seeking to create a workforce of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, the union warned that over 460 members, based mainly at Heathrow, would go on strike for two days from Tuesday 23 December if the company continued to refuse to negotiate.
Unite members include check-in staff, aircraft push back drivers, loaders and HGV drivers. dnata is one of Heathrow’s biggest cargo handlers and one of the biggest ground handlers across Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick airports.
dnata’s main customers are: Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Iran Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airways, New Zealand Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, US Airways, Eva Air, Qantas Airways and Oman Airways.
Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: "It is extremely disappointing that dnata has acted in such a high handed way and sought to split the workforce between the haves and the have nots.
“Strike action is very much a last resort and our members are mindful of the potential disruption it could cause. But they feel frustrated with an employer that has refused point blank to go to Acas and negotiate in a sensible manner.
“Instead hardworking staff have seen their supervisors enjoy a pay rise double the amount that was imposed on them.
“Our members are angry over the inequality being shown within dnata and we would urge management to join us at Acas to reach a fair pay deal.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
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.