Airlines at airport including KLM, Emirates, Virgin and Delta braced for disruption as AFS workers reject pay offer

A strike by refuellers based at Heathrow airport, which will cause delays to hundreds of flights, is set to go ahead later this week, after workers rejected a revised pay offer.

Widespread disruption

The workers are employed by Aviation Fuel Services (AFS), which is responsible for refuelling half of the non-British Airways traffic at Heathrow airport. Affected airlines include Virgin Atlantic, United, Singapore, KLM, American, Emirates, Air France and Delta.

The three day strike will begin at 05:00 on Thursday 21 July and end at 04:59 on Sunday 24 July.

Wealthy energy companies

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “AFS is wholly owned by incredibly wealthy energy companies who are entirely able to provide our members with a decent pay increase. This is yet another example of energy companies boosting profits at the expense of workers.

“Unite will be providing its members at AFS with its unstinting support until the company makes a pay offer which meets members' expectations and this dispute is resolved.”

No pay rises

The workers have not received a pay rise for three years, during which time they have seen their incomes fall by 15.5 per cent in real terms. AFS had belatedly made an offer of a 10 per cent increase but this was rejected by members as it did not meet their expectations.

AFS is a joint venture operation. Its partners include BP, Total Energies, Q8 Aviation and Valero Energy. Energy companies have seen their profits surge in recent months, which in turn has increased inflation and worsened the cost of living crisis.

AFS at fault

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: “The strike action will cause severe disruption and delays at Heathrow but this dispute is entirely of AFS’ own making. It initially refused to enter into negotiations and only belatedly made an offer which workers judged entirely unacceptable.

 “Even at the eleventh hour strike action could be avoided if AFS made a substantially improved offer. The clock is ticking for AFS”


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.