It’s been a long road to recovery since the end of the pandemic. The travel industry has seen a crippling string of setbacks, even as the rest of the world moves on. Last holiday season, the industry was hit with devastating storms. Over the summer, labor shortages caused Delta to cancel thousands of flights. Now, as the holidays approach, Heathrow Airport is in the crosshairs of more labor shortages. This time, in the form of a strike from baggage handlers.
Heathrow Airport Handlers Strike Over Pay
According to a statement by Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, the airport is not giving the baggage workers a fair wage. “Unite’s members at Menzies play a critical role in ensuring that planes operate safely at Heathrow. Menzies is a wealthy company, and it can fully afford to pay its workers a decent pay increase. It is greed, not need, which is preventing a fair pay offer being made. Unite’s members at Menzies will receive the union’s comprehensive support.”
The 350 workers began their 72-hour strike at 0400 London time on Friday and will carry throughout the weekend. Unite regional officer Kevin Hall stated, “The strike action will inevitably cause serious delays for passengers at Heathrow, but this dispute is entirely of Menzies own making. It has had every opportunity to make our members’ a fair pay offer, but it has stubbornly refused to do so.”
No Settlement Reached
According to the statement, the 350 workers are seeking real inflation rate increases in the realm of 14.2 percent. All offers so far have fallen far below that mark. While the strike is set to only 72 hours, it will drastically impact terminals 2-4 and cause delays for airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Qantas, Swiss Air, TAP Air Portugal, Austrian Airlines, Egyptair, Aer Lingus, and Finnair.