British Airways’ UK cargo handlers set to strike again

By Damian Brett

British Airways’ (BA) cargo handlers in the UK are set to strike again over changes to pay and conditions.

Nine days of discontinuous strike action (see timetable below) is due to start tomorrow (UPDATE: strike reduced to six days starting January 29) after talks between management and the union Unite collapsed.

Late last year, more than 840 British Airways cargo workers, predominantly based at Heathrow airport, voted in favour of strike action over changes to pay and conditions.

The union said that nine days of strikes over the Christmas period “brought the company’s cargo operations at Heathrow airport to a grinding halt”.

Unite claims that workers face pay cuts of between 20-25% as well as changes to their terms and conditions.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “Our members’ anger has been heightened by the fact that throughout the coronavirus crisis they have ensured BA’s cargo division remained undisrupted. Thanks to their dedication it is the only part of the company’s operations that has done so. 

“The Christmas strikes brought BA’s Heathrow cargo operations to a grinding halt and these new strikes will cause continued significant disruption.”

An IAG spokesperson said: “This planned industrial action by Unite helps no one and comes at a time when IAG Cargo is transporting critical supplies around the world and the aviation industry has been hit hard by the global pandemic.

“Our proposal would see around half of cargo workers’ salaries rise, with no one else taking more than a 10% pay cut. We want to resolve this dispute and urge the union to work with us to reach a resolution.”

Unite BA cargo members will take place in discontinuous strike action on the following dates: 

  • 02:00 hours on 22 January 2021, concluding at 10:00 hours on 22 January 2021 (CANCELLED)
  • 10:00 hours on 23 January 2021, concluding at 18:00 hours on 23 January 2021 (CANCELLED)
  • 18:00 hours on 24 January 2021, concluding at 02:00 hours on 25 January 2021 (CANCELLED)
  • 02:00 hours on 29 January 2021, concluding at 10:00 hours on 29 January 2021
  • 10:00 hours on 30 January 2021, concluding at 18:00 hours on 30 January 2021
  • 18:00 hours on 31 January 2021, concluding at 02:00 hours on 1 February 2021
  • 02:00 hours on 5 February 2021, concluding at 10:00 hours on 5 February 2021
  • 10:00 hours on 6 February 2021, concluding at 18:00 hours on 6 February 2021
  • 18:00 hours on 7 February 2021, concluding at 02:00 hours on 8 February 2021 
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