British Airways staff overwhelmingly back strike action over summer 

GMB and Unite members have voted to initiate industrial action over peak summer months.

British Airways staff vote for strike action at Heathrow, GMB and Union say to expect disruption over summer iStock
British Airways: Unions threaten strike action unless pay reinstated.

An overwhelming majority of British Airways staff have voted for industrial action at Heathrow Airport over peak summer holiday months.

In a vote conducted on Thursday, over 95% of GMB union members said they were prepared to strike, on a turnout of over 80%.

Over 500 members of Unite working for the airline also recorded a 94.7% vote in favour of strike action.

Workers, predominantly check-in staff, are angry after a 10% cut imposed on them during the pandemic has not been reinstated – despite bosses having their pre-covid pay rates reinstated, according to GMB.

Union leaders will now decide when to call for industrial action, which could potentially bring the major airport to a standstill. Strike action is expected to take place during peak travel periods over summer.

GMB said that while other BA workers have been given a 10% bonus, the check-in staff have had nothing.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “Our members need to be reinstated the 10% they had stolen from them last year with full back pay, and the 10% bonus which other colleagues have been paid.

“GMB members at Heathrow have suffered untold abuse as they deal with the travel chaos caused by staff shortages and IT failures. At the same time, they’ve had their pay slashed during BA’s callous fire and rehire policy.

“What did BA think was going to happen? It’s not too late to save the summer holidays – other BA workers have had their pay cuts reversed, do the same for ground and check-in staff and this industrial action can be nipped in the bud.”

Unite national officer for aviation, Oliver Richardson, said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to BA’s services at Heathrow.”

He urged the company not to “squander” the opportunity to make amends, and reinstate members’ pay.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We’re extremely disappointed with the result and that the unions have chosen to take this course of action. Despite the extremely challenging environment and losses of more than £4bn, we made an offer of a 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues.

“We are fully committed to work together to find a solution, because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we have to work as a team. We will of course keep our customers updated about what this means for them as the situation evolves.”