About 100 HGV drivers at premium aviation catering firm DO & CO at Heathrow will strike on 4 and 5 March over pay and employment conditions, following scrutiny of its stewardship of workers’ pensions.  

Unite the union said that its members had voted by 94 per cent for strike action which would cause major disruption to mainly BA flights, particularly long haul, as food has to be on board for pilots and cabin crew as part of their employment contracts. As a result, Unite warned that flights could be cancelled.  

The strike, which runs from 04.00 on Friday 4 March until 23.59 on Saturday 5 March, is over the refusal to award an acceptable pay increase for 2021; and the refusal to recognise Unite for collective bargaining purposes on behalf of all DO & CO. Event & Airline Catering Ltd employees.

Unite has already reported the Vienna-based company, whose clients include top airlines such as BA and Cathay Pacific, to The Pensions Regulator over allegations that workers’ pensions are not being invested properly. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “There are far too many employers – and DO & CO is one of them – who have used the pandemic to attempt to salami slice our members’ pay and conditions. These HGV drivers at Heathrow have Unite’s full support in their strike action next month for decent pay and union recognition.

“This employer claims that ‘We treat our employees like family as this is a family run business’ and also says it is a premium caterer with high standards, despite paying their staff some of the lowest rates in the London region – the hypocrisy is breath-taking.” 

Unite regional officer Shereen Higginson said: ““Strike action will cause major disruption for BA and other airlines as pilots and cabin crew are required to have food on board as part of their contracts. 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.” 

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.


Notes to editors: 

The current bout of industrial discontent stems from the transfer (TUPE) of 1,800 workers from Gate Gourmet and DHL Supply Service Chain to DO & CO Event & Airline Catering Ltd in the summer of 2020 at the height of the pandemic.  

By the end of that year, over 1,000 workers had been made redundant. As a result, the company is now facing an employment tribunal due to its mishandling of the redundancy process with two pending group legal claims citing unfair dismissal. 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.