Ground handling staff at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester vote to strike over Christmas

DelayStaff at one of the world’s largest air service providers has voted for a two-day strike from Tuesday the 23rd of December in a dispute over pay.

The strike action by Dnata is set to affect a number of airlines and potentially cause flight disruption over the busy festive season at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports.

However, spokespeople from both Gatwick and Manchester airports have argued that passenger services will not be disrupted.

The main airlines that are set to be impacted, should the strike go ahead, are as follows: Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Iran Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airways, New Zealand Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, US Airways, Eva Air, Qantas Airways and Oman Airways.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said:

“Strike action is very much a last resort and our members are mindful of the potential disruption it could cause. But they feel frustrated with an employer that has refused point blank to go to Acas and negotiate in a sensible manner. “Instead hardworking staff has seen their supervisors enjoy a pay rise double the amount that was imposed on them,” he said.

Dnata carry out check-in, ground crew and cargo duties at the aforementioned airports and a quarter of the 1,900 Dnata staff is represented by Unite.

A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said:

“We are being kept informed of the situation. Should the strike action take place, we are confident that Dnata will have contingency plans to keep disruption to passengers to a minimum.”

A spokesman for Dnata confirmed that contingency measures would indeed be put in place should staff proceed with the strike, while emphasising the fact that: “Unite members are a minority of our team in the UK.”

Are flight delays inevitable during the festive season?

Strike or no strike an analysis of all flight delays in December last year by Bott & Co, a law firm that specialises in flight delay compensation, revealed that more than half of flights leaving Luton, Stansted and Gatwick airports during this period were delayed by 15 minutes.

With similar passenger numbers travelling over Christmas and New Year this year, according to the Association of British Travel Agents - the question remains as to whether similar delays will be faced as 2014 draws to a close.

If you are heading off on holiday in the coming weeks and months, it’s important to organise a comprehensive travel insurance policy in advance.


Date Created: 19 December 2014

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