Heathrow Flights May Be Affected By Strike of Cargo Handlers

Union Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members, has reported that flights to and from London Heathrow Airport may suffer next week as cargo workers go on a strike.

Cargo staff at the airport, working for Swissport Cargo Services, will be undertaking two three-day strikes due to the company’s refusal to discuss pay claims. The strikes are set to run from 06.30 on June 27, to 06.29 on June 30, 2012, and then again from 06.30 on July 4, to 06.29 on July 7, 2012. The impending strikes will affect all major flights from Heathrow for the said time period, especially Singapore and Korean airlines. Flights may also be delayed as cargo is always loaded on to the aircraft first, and it is this that will be most affected by the strike.

The union regional officer, Kevin Hall, said, ‘Swissport has continually refused to negotiate on a pay rise for the year 2010/2011.

Our members, faced with rising household bills, have been driven to take this action which could be severely disruptive to flights at Heathrow, as the summer holiday season kicks off.

Flights could be delayed as cargo on passenger flights has to be properly configured before the plane can take-off – if cargo and vehicles are in the wrong place because of the strike this is going to have adverse knock-on effects.

Imports and exports of perishable goods, such as fruit and flowers, will also be hit.’

The union represents 275 Swissport workers, and has reported that around 62.7 percent have voted for strike action.