BA strike 2022: Will British Airways staff strike at Heathrow, has it been cancelled and pay dispute explained

Staff at British Airways had originally voted in favour of striking before the pay offer was received from bosses

A planned strike for British Airways (BA) staff at Heathrow Airport has been called off after workers backed a pay offer from bosses.

Around 700 BA workers at the country’s busiest airport were expected to walk out amid a pay dispute with BA bosses, but a pay offer has now passed with around 75% of union members voting to accept it.

This means that the planned strike will no longer go ahead.

BA is said to believe the threat of industrial action was based on a misunderstanding which they believe was rectified immediately.

The airline has announced it will cut 10,300 short-haul flights until the end of October, with long-haul travel unaffected.

The news comes after BA announced on 5 July that it is cancelling around 650 flights from Heathrow and Gatwick in the coming weeks, affecting more than 100,000 passengers.

Palma de Mallorca and Malaga in Spain, Faro in Portugal, and Athens in Greece are expected to be among the destinations affected.

However, the cancellation of the strike action is expected toreduce the growing cancellations and delays at Heathrow Airport.

Why has the strike been cancelled?

Negotiations had been ongoing between union representitives and BA bosses to come to an agreement over a pay dispute.

Pay had been cut for workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and, instead of pay rising once again, bosses had offered a temporary 10% bonus.

The strike had been suspended on 7 July, after an increased pay offer was made, allowing GMB and Unite union members to be balloted on whether to accept it.

The deal included an 8% consolidated pay rise and a one-off bonus. An offer of shift pay being reinstated was also made.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said of the deal: “All our members were asking for was what they were owed. British Airways finally moving on pay is long overdue.

“All our members - who are predominantly low-paid women - wanted was to be given back the pay cuts BA imposed on them during the pandemic, threatening them with fire and rehire if they said no.”

Union members accepted the offer with 75% of respondants voting in favour.

What has the union said?

After the pay offer was accepted by members, Ms Houghton said: “No one wanted a summer strike at Heathrow, but our members had to fight for what was right.

“This improved pay deal came because of their efforts.

“Now these mainly women workers have won pay improvements for themselves – as well as forcing BA to make this offer to the rest of their staff too.

“Our members stood up for themselves and fought for what they were owed.

“These are frontline workers facing harassment and abuse from customers daily.

“The least they deserved is fair pay.”

What has British Airways said?

BA is said to believe the threat of industrial action is based on a misunderstanding which was rectified immediately.

The carrier had thought there was a previous pay increase that ground handlers had missed, made the offer to compensate them, then realised it was in error.

Following the news that the strike had been suspended, a BA statement said: “We are very pleased that, following collaboration with the unions, they have decided not to issue dates for industrial action.

“This is great news for our customers and our people.”

Are other airlines threatened with staff striking?

The Ryanair strike began last Thursday (30 June) and caused the airline to cancel 10 flights in Spain on Saturday (2 July).

Ryanair cabin crew will strike on 12-15, 18-21 and 25-28 July at 10 airports across Spain, the USO and SICTPLA unions have confirmed.

They are striking over pay and working conditions.

In a statement on Saturday, Ryanair said it expected “minimal (if any) disruption to its flight schedules in July as a result of minor and poorly- supported Spanish labour strikes”.

EasyJet workers are staging three sets of three-day strikes in July.

The first took has already took place, with two more scheduled for 15-17 July and 29-31 July.

Some 450 workers based at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca will walk out.

Easyjet has said it plans to operate its full schedule of flights, but admitted there could be some disruption to its programme.

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