Strike action due to begin tomorrow (Friday 11 February) at Heathrow Airport, involving 400 workers employed by Menzies Aviation, has been called after the workers received a substantial pay offer.

The dispute involved Menzies workers who undertake ground handling and refuelling work and would have affected British Airways and a large number of other airlines at Heathrow. 

Excellent result

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is an excellent result for our members at Menzies Aviation who have overturned two years of pay freezes to secure significant increases. It shows what workers can achieve when they stand together in a union. 

 “Unite will always put the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first and we will continue to support our members in the aviation sector who are taking a stand against low pay, long hours and poor conditions.”

Strike action over pay

The workers voted for strike action due to Menzies’ refusal to even enter into negotiations for outstanding pay increases in 2020 and 2021.

Following the announcement of the strike action, talks were held with the company and the following offer was made and accepted by the workers:

  • Ground Handling: Will receive a seven per cent increase of pay backdated to 1 January 2022 and a further pay review in line with the anniversary date of May 2022.
  • Joint Venture refuelling workers: Will receive a lump sum payment of £3000 and in addition a six per cent increase in basic pay backdated to 1 January 2022.
  • BA Refuelling workers: A one off payment of £3,000, with a commitment that the 2022 pay review will take place closer to the October anniversary date.

Negotiated deal

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: “When Unite announced strike action we made clear that we believed that if Menzies made a suitable offer this dispute could be resolved and strike action averted. That has proved to be the case.

 “Unite is determined to use this pay deal as the basis for future pay talks so that our members continue to see their earnings return to the levels they received prior to the pandemic.”

Aviation worker shortage

The pay increase for the workers at Menzies Aviation comes at a time when there are growing staff shortages throughout the aviation sector. As the sector returns to normality following the pandemic, companies are struggling to recruit workers, due to the low pay, unsocial hours and poor conditions currently on offer.


Notes to editors:

British Airways and Heathrow airlines facing half term chaos as refuellers and ground handlers announce strike action

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.