WORLD Cup-going Brits could face travel disappointment, with hundreds of Heathrow airport staff preparing to go on strike this month.
The strikes will affect passengers using five major airlines from the UK’s biggest airport.
Union Unite say that 700 staff, involved in ground handling, airside transport and cargo from both Dnata and Menzies will be staging three days of walkouts, starting on Friday, November 18.
Both Qatar Airways and Emirates are expected to be among the airlines affected, which could heap misery on World Cup-going football fans, with the tournament starting in Qatar on November 20.
The workers say they are taking the three days of strike action because of a dispute over pay.
The strikes will begin in the early hours of Friday, November 18 and will last until the early hours of Monday, November 21.
It is expected to lead to disruption, cancellations and delays at Heathrow terminals 2, 3 and 4.
The strike action will particularly affect Qatar Airways, which has scheduled an additional 10 flights a week during the World Cup.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: âOur members at Dnata and Menzies undertake highly challenging roles and are simply seeking a decent pay rise.
“Both companies are highly profitable and can fully afford to make a fair pay increase.
“The owners and directors are simply lining their own pockets rather than paying their workers fairly.
âThe workers at Heathrow will have Uniteâs complete support during this dispute.â
Other airlines that will be hit heavily by the strike action include Virgin, Singapore Airlines and Cathay-Pacific.
Passengers returning to the United States for the Thanksgiving holiday are also expected to be affected.
A spokesperson for Dnata told Sun Online Travel: âIt is disappointing that Unite plans to progress with this costly industrial action, despite our offer to staff of an award which, with previous increases, amounts to a pay rise of 15.5% (20.2% for HGV drivers) since December 2021.
“This is in line with inflation and amongst the best in the industry.
âWe would like to reassure our customers, partners and passengers that we are implementing contingency plans to minimise disruption to our operations.
âThe increase in salary suggested by Unite is irresponsible and would undoubtedly impact our businessâ ability to operate in the best interest of our workforce in the long term.
âOur offer has been overwhelmingly accepted by other staff at the airport and we remain committed to reaching a meaningful and mutually acceptable agreement for all parties.â
A Menzies spokesperson added: âUnite are being incredibly obstructive by refusing to join discussions regarding a pay increase for our Heathrow ground handling workforce.
“We urge Unite to take part in these negotiations, alongside the other trade union, and to continue separate discussions with our Heathrow cargo operations.
“This threatening of industrial action is all about creating sensationalist headlines rather than doing whatâs right for their members.
“Strike action will benefit no-one and will only delay the process at a time when our employees need the increase now.
“We are ready and willing to continue pay discussions, which we believe is in the best interest of our employees.
“I also want to reassure our airline customers and their passengers that we have robust contingency plans in place should Unite elect to continue with unnecessary industrial action.â
Meanwhile, England fans heading to Qatar have been warned not to behave in a certain way.
And this is how you go about cancelling a Qatar Airways flight.
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