Baggage bedlam looms large at Heathrow
- Friday 11 August 2023
Workers at Vanderlande Industries who manage baggage carousels, balloted for industrial action over poor pay offer
Unite, the UK’s leading trade union, has announced today (Friday 11 August) that its members at Vanderlande Industries are to be balloted to strike over pay, potentially bringing travel disruption to Heathrow Airport this summer.
Around 170 workers conduct high-end maintenance and servicing of baggage carousels ensuring passengers' luggage is delivered into the terminal buildings safely. If Unite members take industrial action it will bring all terminals and airline baggage handling to a standstill.
The ballot opens today for three weeks until 1 September. Vanderlande Industries has made two below-inflation pay offers of just five per cent and 2.5 per cent that have been roundly rejected by Unite members. Vanderlande is pleading poverty and yet its last accounts at Companies House show profits of £3.7 million. Its parent company has increased revenue by 32 per cent to €2.4 billion.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Workers at Heathrow Airport employed by Vanderlande do a safety and security critical role that passengers depend on. The fact that their employer refuses to recognise this, as shown by their pitiful pay offer, speaks volumes.
“They should be ashamed that, during a cost-of-living crisis, they are acting in such a penny-pinching manner while their bottom line shows just how much money they are making.”
Unite regional officer, Russ Ball, added: “Vanderlande is treating its workers appallingly and Unite’s complete focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members will mean that our members at Heathrow will receive the union’s unflinching support.”
Notes to editors
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications adviser David Carnell on 07718 666592.
- 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.