London's Heathrow Airport Staff to Strike Ahead of FIFA World Cup

London: A British union said on Friday that hundreds of workers at London’s Heathrow airport will walk out in the run-up to the soccer World Cup this month over demands for better pay.

Unite said 700 workers involved in ground handling, airside transport, and cargo, and employed by Emirates Group’s airport services subsidiary dnata and Menzies, will strike for three days starting from Nov. 18. Meanwhile, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar starts on Nov. 20.

“Strike action will inevitably cause disruption, delays, and cancellations to flights throughout Heathrow, with travelers to the World Cup, particularly affected,” Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said in the statement. The association said the strike action would lead to disturbance, cancellations, and delays at Heathrow air terminals 2, 3, and 4. It said Qatar Airways, which has scheduled an additional 10 flights per week during the World Cup, would be especially affected.

Other airlines including Virgin, Singapore Airlines, Cathay-Pacific, and Emirates will also be impacted, United said. The dnata said it was implementing alternate plans to minimize disturbance from the walkouts, and that it was focused on reaching a mutually acceptable agreement for all parties.

“The increase in salary suggested by Unite is irresponsible and would undoubtedly impact our business’ ability to operate in the best interest of our workforce in the long term,” dnata said, adding that its UK airport operations business was making a loss each month due to challenging conditions.

Heathrow declined to give any remarks on the strikes, while Menzies did not immediately respond to an e-mail request by a media agency for a comment.

By Archana

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