With summer now in full swing, thousands of British holidaymakers will be jetting off for some time in the sun.
But many could now face travel chaos as numerous planned strikes hit three of the UK’s busiest airport.
Mass walkout at the UK’s biggest airport
A walkout of 4,000 people at the UK’s biggest airport, Heathrow, was recently announced by Unite the Union.
Staff planning to strike includes security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers.
The workers are set to strike on 26 and 27 July, 5 and 6 August and 23 and 24 August.
Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said, “There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport.”
However, a spokesman for Heathrow Airport explained that they will be implementing contingency plans to ensure that not only the airport remains open, but that it continues to operate safely throughout the strikes.
Strikes at Stansted
EasyJet staff at Stansted airport have announced a 17 day strike, also over a long-running dispute regarding pay.
Unite explains that 43 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Limited will stage a walk out on 25 to 29 July, 2 to 5 August, 9 to 12 August, 16 to 19 August and 23 to 27 August.
Unite regional officer Mark Barter said, “There is no getting away from it - these 17 days of strike action will cause severe disruption to thousands of easyJet passengers using Stansted for their summer holidays.”
An EasyJet spokesman has reportedly said that they are urging Stobart Aviation and Unite to reach a suitable solution as soon as possible.
Balloting for strikes at Gatwick airport
Although no strikes have been announced at Gatwick airport yet, workers from two separate companies are set to begin balloting for industrial action - also over pay rates.
Unite is currently conducting a ballot of over 100 members working for the company ICTS as security staff, and those working for ISS, who help with cleaning services and moving luggage.
The union's regional officer, Jamie Major, said, “It is astonishing that workers who undertake such crucial safety critical work as scanning luggage, are paid so little for the work they do.
“If strikes go ahead then passengers will inevitably experience delays and a poorer service but this is in the hands of the contractors and Gatwick airport.”
Are British Airways and Ryanair set to strike?
Although no industrial action has been officially organised, pilots working for British Airways (BA) are reportedly being balloted by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) - again over pay disputes.
Balpa’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, told the Independent that the development so far was “bitterly disappointing” and added that talks are “still no further forward”.
“Balpa tabled options for resolution but BA was not prepared to negotiate so there was no progress at all and no point continuing,” said Strutton.
“Until BA changes its attitude there is little prospect of talks resuming.”
A spokesperson for British Airways said, “We are disappointed that Balpa has walked away from conciliation with Acas this evening.
“We remain open and flexible to find a solution to protect hard-working families looking forward to their summer breaks.”
Flight crew working for Ryanair, and who belong to the British Airline Pilots’ Association, are also to be balloted in a dispute. This dispute includes issues such as pensions, allowances and maternity benefits.
Pilots will be sent voting forms on 24 July, with the results of the ballot due to be announced on 7 August.