British Airways passengers warned of holiday chaos as Heathrow Airport staff set to vote on strike

British Airways passengers could face problems travelling from Heathrow Airport over the summer holidays as workers prepare to vote on strike action.

The GMB and Unite unions say hundreds of members working as check-in and ground staff have voted in favour of holding a formal industrial action ballot with any strikes taking place over the summer holidays.

The unions say the row is over "a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic which has not been reinstated. "

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: "These workers are claiming back what they had robbed from them due to BA’s callous fire and rehire during the pandemic.  

“BA forced our members into pay cuts during the pandemic, when they had little workplace power to fight back. 

“Now our members are back at work and staff shortages are hammering the company - it is their time to claim back what is theirs. 

The GMB and Unite unions say hundreds of check-in and ground staff have voted in favour of holding a formal industrial action ballot. Credit: PA

“These loyal workers have stood by BA through thick and thin, they have kept passengers moving when staff shortages and IT failures nearly brough the operation to a standstill.  

“They received shocking abuse from passengers, all while BA are refusing to return their 10 per cent pay cut.  

"If BA wants to avoid industrial action that will trash many people’s summer holidays, they need to do what’s right by check in staff.” 

Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary, said: “Under the cover of covid, British Airways used the abhorrent fire and rehire practice to slash check in and ground handlers pay by 10 per cent.

“In a further disgraceful move, BA has now restored the pay of managers but has kept the cut for these workers.

“This is why our members have voted overwhelmingly to proceed to strike action. 

“This is about paying the rate for the job.   

“BA has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations but it has failed to do so. Our members are left with no choice but to vote for strike action this summer. 

“Unite will be giving its members its unequivocal support until this dispute is resolved.” 

In a statement a spokesperson for British Airways said, "While this is not a strike ballot, it is a disappointing response from this small group, considering our genuine offer of a 10% reward this year ahead of planned pay talks.

"Our colleagues are the heart of our business and we are continuing to talk with their union representatives."