Over 400 workers employed by ground handling and refuelling company Menzies will be balloted for strike action from this Thursday (13 January) in a dispute over pay.
The company, unlike its competitors dnata and Swissport, has refused to enter into meaningful negotiations over outstanding pay increases for its workers for either 2020 or 2021.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:”The UK is facing a cost of living crisis and our members at Menzies realise that a two year pay freeze will make it impossible to make ends meet.
“Unite fights to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of our members. We make no apology for demanding that Menzies makes a fair pay offer to its workers. Unite will be defending our members’ interests to the hilt until this dispute is resolved.”
The affected Menzies workers are split between two main functions. One group provides ground handling and passenger services for a host of airlines including: American, Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, China airlines, Air Canada, Germanwings, Croatian, Icelandair, Finnair, Aer Lingus, Egyptair, Qantas and Loganair.
The other group is responsible for refuelling for British Airways and a joint venture operation with Shell/Exxon and Mobil.
The strike ballot will close on 27 January and if workers vote for industrial action, strikes could begin in mid-February affecting flights scheduled for the half-term holidays.
Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: “If strike action goes ahead it will cause disruption and cancellations throughout Heathrow, potentially impacting on half term trips and skiing holidays.
“Industrial action can still be prevented if Menzies takes a leaf out of its competitors handbooks, enters into meaningful negotiations with Unite and makes a fair pay offer.”
The workers at Menizes believe that they are being treated as second class citizens within their own company as workers in Menzies’ cargo division secured a seven per cent pay increase in 2021.