Threat of industrial action forces United Airlines climb down

Airline drops outsourcing plans as Unite wins cost of living pay boost

Airport operations workers employed by United Airlines at London Heathrow have secured a new pay deal which includes an improved pay offer and a commitment from the company to abandon outsourcing plans.

The workers had announced 4 days of strike action planned between 28th and 31st October after a 96% vote in favour of strikes.

But after a series of intensive negotiations the strike was averted and an agreement was reached for a cost of living increase on all elements of pay.

The airline also agreed to continue with its commitment not to outsource work to third party organisations. United Airlines was threatening to end this long standing agreement.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The outstanding unity of our members in pledging to take industrial action followed by intensive negotiations has delivered a pay deal and a commitment of ‘no outsourcing’ which are real achievements. The workers are to be congratulated for standing firm.”

Unite represents almost 300 workers in operations, customer services and baggage handling.

Unite regional Officer Clare Keogh saidThe workers have achieved a good deal. A cost of living pay increase, no outsourcing and the harmonisation of shift pay.”

ARGS has spoken to Miguel Gomez Sjunnesson, EVP Europe, Menzies Aviation: “Following further discussions this week regarding pay increases for our Heathrow ground handling workforce, we are pleased to have reached a positive position with GMB who represent the majority of this workforce.

“As a result, GMB members are being balloted with the view that the best possible outcome has been reached.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Unite who continue to be obstructive and push for unnecessary strike action rather than provide any realistic counter offers for consideration, which will benefit no-one and only delay the process.

“We remain ready and willing to meet with Unite to hear their concerns and discuss the deal we have agreed with GMB in more detail, which we believe is in the best interest of our employees.

I 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, and we are confident our operations will not be impacted.”

dnata UK’s ground handling & cargo operations arm at London Heathrow has confirmed a pay award for all employees. The pay package is amongst the best in the industry and will help employees manage the effects of rising living costs. The proposed industrial action for 18-20 November will no longer be taking place. 


Alex Doisneau, Managing Director, dnata UK, Airport Operations (Ground Handling & Cargo), said: “We are pleased to have reached agreement on this pay award, which reflects the huge respect we have for our employees in the UK.

The agreed package, including both a pay increase and immediate support for the short term, provides concrete support for our employees amidst the current cost of living crisis. dnata is heavily invested in the UK and we look forward to continuing our journey with our employees as we focus our efforts on strengthening our leading position in the market.”