British holidaymakers face travel chaos this summer as strikes threaten to cripple London’s major airports.
Workers at Heathrow and Stansted are set to take industrial action over pay disputes when the holiday season starts on July 25.
Employees from two companies at Gatwick Airport are also balloting to strike in a move that would hit security gates and cleaning services.
Further disruption will likely be caused at other airports around the country if BA pilots decide to walk out in yet another battle over pay.
Here’s everything you need to know so far about the airport strikes this summer.
Unite the Union announced a major walkout of 4,000 airport staff at the UK’s biggest airport last week.
It described the action as "a move that could potentially shut down the airport".
Heathrow Airport has said it is "disappointed" at the strike action and "will be implementing contingency plans that will ensure the airport remains open and operating safely throughout".
Staff planning to strike includes security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers.
#Strikes scheduled @HeathrowAirport on:
🛬 Fri 26 July
🛫 Sat 27 July
🛬 Mon 5 August
🛫 Tues 6 August
🛬 Fri 23 August
🛫 Sat 24 August
Summer travel chaos looms after #Heathrow workers announce strike dates in pay dispute https://t.co/9EIesX7M5y #HALstrike pic.twitter.com/3EWC0Phek0— Unite the union (@unitetheunion)12 July 2019
The workers will leave their posts on July 26 and July 27, as well as August 5 and August 6. They will also strike on August 23 and August 24.
Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport.
“They are fed up of being expected to accept crumbs while the chief executive pockets an eye popping 103 per cent rise in his pay package and shareholders are handed dividends of over £2 billion in the last two years alone."
A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said they will be implementing contingency plans to ensure the airport remains open and operating safely throughout the coordinated action.
“We will be working alongside our airline partners to minimise disruption caused to passengers as they look towards their well-deserved summer holidays," they said.
“We have proposed a progressive pay package giving at least a 4.6 per cent pay rise to over 70 per cent of our frontline colleagues.
“The total package offered is above RPI and is specifically designed to boost the wages of lower paid colleagues.
“We have invited our union colleagues back to the table and urge them to continue working with us to reach an agreement.”
EasyJet staff at Stansted have also announced a 17-day strike after a long-running pay dispute.
Unite said the industrial action will cause “severe disruption to thousands of easyJet passengers”.
It said 43 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Limited will stage a walk-out on July 25 to 29, from August 2 to 5, from August 9 to 12, from August 16 to August 19 and August 23 to August 27.
Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: “There is no getting away from it; these 17 days of strike action will cause severe disruption to thousands of easyJet passengers using Stansted for their summer holidays.
“A major bone of contention is that workers employed by other companies at Stansted are being paid up to 20 per cent more for doing the same job.
— Unite the union (@unitetheunion)11 July 2019
An EasyJet spokesman has reportedly said they are urging Stobart Aviation and Unite to reach a suitable solution as soon as possible.
No strikes have yet to be announced at Gatwick so those travelling through the airport may yet escape summer travel chaos.
However, workers from two separate companies are to begin balloting for industrial action over pay rates.
Unite is conducting a ballot of over 100 members working for ICTS as security staff as well as those by ISS, who help with cleaning services, moving luggage rearranging furniture.
— Unite the union (@unitetheunion)11 July 2019
The union's regional officer Jamie Major said: “It is astonishing that workers who undertake such crucial safety critical work as scanning luggage, are paid so little for the work they do.
“If strikes go ahead then passengers will inevitably experience delays and a poorer service but this is in the hands of the contractors and Gatwick airport.”
Again no industrial action has been officially organised but pilots working for BA are reportedly being balloted by the British Airline Pilots’ Association over pay disputes.
Last week, Balpa said that conciliation talks with the carrier have broken down, prompting strikes over the summer to become more likely, according to The Independent.
Speaking to the publication, Balpa’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, called the development “bitterly disappointing” and added that talks are “still no further forward”.
“Balpa tabled options for resolution but BA was not prepared to negotiate so there was no progress at all and no point continuing.
“Until BA changes its attitude there is little prospect of talks resuming.”
A spokesperson for British Airways also said: “We are disappointed that Balpa has walked away from conciliation with Acas this evening.
“We remain open and flexible to find a solution to protect hard-working families looking forward to their summer breaks.”