Strike by BA cargo workers to go ahead from Christmas Day, Unite announces

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·2-min read

A nine-day strike by British Airways cargo workers is to go ahead from Christmas Day after talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay and conditions.

Unite said its members, mainly based at Heathrow, faced “deep cuts” to their pay of between £5,000 and £11,000 a year, as well as inferior conditions.

BA said half of cargo workers’ salaries would rise, with no-one else taking more than a 10% pay cut.

Strike action will begin on Friday and end on January 2, with Unite deciding not to organise any picketing at Heathrow because of the coronavirus crisis.

Unite said the walkout will disrupt BA’s ability to bring goods into the UK.

A plane takes off past the control tower at Heathrow Airport (Steve Parsons/PA)
A plane takes off past the control tower at Heathrow Airport (Steve Parsons/PA)

Assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “Unite has given British Airways numerous chances to resolve this dispute and it has repeatedly failed to grasp the opportunity.

“As a result Unite members have no option but to go ahead with the planned strike action.

“The strike action will cause huge disruption to British Airways’ ability to bring cargo into the UK.

“Once again the company have decided to resurrect its ‘fire and rehire’ policies and target a group of employees who have continued to work throughout the pandemic bringing much need supplies to the UK and revenue to BA.”

Unite said it has has reached agreement with BA in all the other sections of the company where it represents workers, but has been unable to do so for the cargo workers.

BA said in a statement: “Our offer would see almost half of cargo workers’ salaries rise, with no-one else taking more than a 10% pay cut.

“We want to resolve this, and urge the union to get back around the table.”

BA added: “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 in 2020 by the global pandemic.”