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British Airways strike: Heathrow staff vote in favour of industrial action following dispute over pay

The GMB and Unite unions have confirmed that staff at London’s main airport have voted in favour of strike action

British Airways staff at the country’s busiest airport have voted in favour of strike action amid a pay dispute.

Staff of the airline at Heathrow Airport are set to walkout after so far failing to negotiate a pay rise, the GMB and Unite unions have confirmed.

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It has not been proposed yet what dates the strikes could take place on, but around 700 members of staff are expected to take part if strike action goes ahead.

The news comes after a week of travel chaos for rail travellers, with train staff currently striking and only 10% of services running.

British Airways staff at Heathrow have voted in favour of strike action following a pay dispute. (Credit: Getty Images)

What have the unions said about the strikes?

The GMB union said that 91% of balloted workers voted in favour of strike action, while 94% of Unite balloted members voted in favour.

GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: “With grim predictability, holidaymakers face massive disruption thanks to the pig-headedness of British Airways.

“BA have tried to offer our members crumbs from the table in the form of a 10% one-off bonus payment, but this doesn’t cut the mustard.

“Our members need to be reinstated the 10% they had stolen from them last year with full back pay and the 10% bonus which other colleagues have been paid.”

The union added that staff had encountered abuse while at work as they attempt to deal with delays at airports caused by staff shortages and IT issues.

The Unite union echoed the GMB’s comments, with officer Russ Ball claiming that British Airways had “insulted” staff with their offer.

He said: “In the case of this dispute, they have insulted this workforce, slashing pay by 10% only to restore it to managers but not to our members.

“BA is treating its loyal workforce as second class citizens and they will not put up with it a moment longer.

“Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to BA’s services at Heathrow.

“The company has a short window of opportunity to reinstate our members’ pay before strikes are called. I urge BA not to squander that opportunity.”

What has British Airways said about the strikes?

A BA statement said: “We’re extremely disappointed with the result and that the unions have chosen to take this course of action.

“Despite the extremely challenging environment and losses of more than £4bn, we made an offer of a 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues.

“We are fully committed to work together to find a solution, because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we have to work as a team.

“We will of course keep our customers updated about what this means for them as the situation evolves.”