UK flight disruption latest: airport strikes and walkouts – and how your flights could be affected

UK flight disruption latest: airport strikes and walkouts – and how your flights could be affected
With summer now in full swing, thousands of British holidaymakers will be jetting off for some time in the sun (Photo: Shutterstock)

With summer now in full swing, thousands of British holidaymakers will be jetting off for some time in the sun.

But many could now face travel chaos as numerous planned strikes hit three of the UK’s busiest airport.

Mass walkout at the UK’s biggest airport

A walkout of 4,000 people at the UK’s biggest airport, Heathrow, was recently announced by Unite the Union.

Staff planning to strike includes security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers.

The workers were originally set to strike on 26 and 27 July, but this was called off so they could  vote on a new pay offer.

A strike planned by Heathrow Airport workers on Monday 5 August has also been called off, as talks continue to stop a further walkout on Tuesday 6 August.

Around 2,500 workers had planned to strike on both days in a row over pay.

Although Britain’s busiest airport cancelled 177 flights  after Unite rejected a pay offer, British Airways has now said it will now reinstate flights from Heathrow on Monday (5 August).

Air Canada explains that it is planning to operate its full flight schedule on Monday (5 Ausgust), with Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways also confirming that it will reinstate flights,.

However, Virgin Atlantic has not cancelled flights, but will continue with its plan to move them from Heathrow to Gatwick airport.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic said: “These services will not revert back to the original London Heathrow schedule and will remain in place.”

Strikes at Stansted

In July, EasyJet staff at Stansted airport announced a 17-day strike after a long-running pay dispute.

Although walkouts were meant to be staged on July 25 to 29, August 2 to 5, August 9 to 12, August 16 to 19 and August 23 to August 27, these were recently called off after a new pay deal was accepted.

Members of the Unite union explained that a package accepted by EasyJet check-in staff included a 13 per cent pay rise for most of the workforce for the year starting April 2019.

Balloting for strikes at Gatwick airport

Over 130 security workers at Gatwick Airport have announced industrial action this summer over a row over pay.

The workers are demanding a wage increase from £8.50 to £9 an hour, in order to match the standard living wage.

The strike will begin at 6am on Saturday August 10 and will last for 48 hours.

Unite regional office Jamie Major said: “ICTS workers have an incredibly responsible security role scanning the luggage of every single passenger on every single aeroplane that flies out of Gatwick Airport.”

Are British Airways and Ryanair set to strike?

Pilots working for British Airways (BA) were recently balloted by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) – again over pay disputes.

The union said that their recent strike ballot saw a 93 per cent vote in favour of industrial action on a 90 per cent turnout.

British Airways recently sought a High Court injunction to try and prevent strike action.

However, the High Court ruled that BALPA had issued its ballot correctly and that the ballot result could stand.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Sutton, explained that “the window for negotiation and compromise is closing fast.”

If an agreement is not reached, strikes could take place later this month.

Ryanair crew in Portugal have also announced a series of walkouts, just after the unions representing its UK and Irish pilots said they were voting on industrial action. 

Portugal staff will strike for five days in August in a dispute over pay and conditions, the SNPVAC union announced, after claims Ryanair has refused to comply with a protocol signed last November.

The airline’s cabin crew have announced that some members will go on strike for five days from August 21.

“Strike notice for all cabin crew duties between 00:00 of August 21 until 23:29 of August 25 was sent today to all the relevant entities,” the union said in a statement.

Flight crew working for Ryanair, and who belong to the British Airline Pilots’ Association, are also currently balloted in a dispute. This dispute includes issues such as pensions, allowances and maternity benefits.

Pilots have been sent voting forms and the results of the ballot are due to be announced on 7 August.

This article was originally published on our sister site, Yorkshire Evening Post.