BRITS have been warned to brace for more holiday hell after British Airways workers at Heathrow voted to strike this summer.
BA check-in and ground staff who belong to the GMB and Unite unions will walk out in a row over pay, it’s been announced.
Huge queues to get into the terminal building at Heathrow were seen yesterdayCredit: Tom Bowles / Story Picture Agency
Huge piles of luggage have been spotted at airports as chaos continuesCredit: Twitter
The move will turn the screws on families desperate for a hard-earned break after weeks of misery and chaos at airports across the country.
A whopping 95 per cent of those polled today were in favour of taking action, with workers set to down tools as early as July 8.
It comes as GMB seeks to reverse a 10 per cent pay cut on workers imposed during the pandemic.
BA says it has offered a 10 per cent one-off bonus, but not a return to the same pay as before – and union bosses say the “one-off” fee is not enough.
They are calling for a full salary reimbursement instead.
GMB rep Nadine Houghton blasted: “With grim predictability, holidaymakers face massive disruption thanks to the pig-headedness of British Airways.
“BA have tried to offer our members crumbs from the table in the form of a 10 per cent one-off bonus payment, but this doesn’t cut the mustard.
“Our members need to be reinstated the 10 per cent they had stolen from them last year with full back pay and the 10 per cent 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?”
She said it’s “not too late to save the summer holidays” as other workers have had pay cuts reversed.
It’s not too late to save the summer holidays – this industrial action can be nipped in the bud
“Do the same for ground and check-in staff and this industrial action can be nipped in the bud,” she warned.
A spokesperson from BA said the airline is “extremely disappointed”, although attempted to reassure customers that the strike will involve one in two of the Heathrow-based team in customer-facing roles.
“We remain fully committed to talks with our trade unions about their concerns,” they said.
“We hope that together we can find a way to reach an agreement in the best interests of our people and our customers.”
The summer walk-outs are the latest blow amid days of strike chaos, as Britain’s railways ground to a miserable halt again today.
And it could get worse, as fears militant unions are already drawing up plans for a crippling second wave of strikes in just two weeks.
In airports across the country, travellers are already feeling the strain of a wide-spread staffing crisis.
Passengers have been devastated by last-minute flight cancellations, huge queues and lost baggage as airports struggle to cope.
EasyJet airline reportedly plans to axe almost 10,000 MORE flights.
The cancellations – which are likely to include flights to holiday hotspots like Greece and Spain – will take place during July, August and September.
It has already scrapped seven per cent of the 16,000 journeys it is expected to run between July and September.
Earlier this week, more than 15,000 passengers were left in the lurch after Heathrow Airport cancelled ten per cent of its plane journeys.
It comes as:
Photos taken at airports up and down the country have shown holiday hopefuls spread out across the floors with bags piling up in the travel carnage.
And leaders in the industry said it was unlikely the summer was going to get any better.
When asked if things will improve, Oliver Richardson, Unite National Officer for Civil Air Transport, said: “Unless we work together, no.”
This was echoed by Swissport’s Managing Director Jude Winstanley, along with Airline Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee.
Mr Richardson said there was a “correlation” between airlines that made large job cuts during the pandemic and those cancelling the most flights right now.
British Airways made around 10,000 staff redundant, followed by easyJet who axed 2,000.
Both airlines have had the most cancellations.
Travellers are seen queuing at security at Heathrow Airport on WednesdayCredit: AP
Heathrow Airport is already struggling with staffing issuesCredit: AP