Further disruption in sight at Heathrow with refueling strike

London’s Heathrow airport, the largest in the country, disrupted for months by staff shortages and which had to reduce the number of flights this summer, risks being disrupted this week by a strike by supply staff from fuel.

Aviation Fuel Services (AFS) employees will be on strike for three days, from 5 a.m. Thursday morning to Sunday morning, “after refusing a salary offer” deemed insufficient, the Unite union announced in a statement on Tuesday.

This movement “will cause delays on hundreds of flights”, in particular from “Virgin Atlantic, United, Singapore, KLM, American, Emirates, Air France and Delta” companies which use the services of this company, adds the organization.

According to Unite, these workers “have not received a pay rise for three years, during which they have seen their income fall by 15.5% in real terms”, that is to say after the effect of the inflation which is soaring in the country and could exceed 11% this year.

“Heathrow is in discussion with (the) airlines about contingency plans they can implement, including using other fuel suppliers present at the airport,” Heathrow responded in a statement.

The airport lightened its summer flight schedule a week ago because of staff shortages hitting the sector as demand rebounds after massive layoffs during the pandemic.

Heathrow came under fire from Emirates, which refused the requested cancellations but finally agreed to limit ticket sales from this airport until mid-August.

Other companies such as British Airways, Wizz Air or Easyjet had already canceled thousands of flights scheduled for this summer to phase their programs with their reduced capacities.

The discontent swells in the country in the face of inflation which is eating away at purchasing power and the announcements of strikes are multiplying in many sectors.

British railway workers had carried out their biggest strike in 30 years at the end of June and will strike again during the summer. Strikes have also taken place in recent weeks among criminal lawyers or postal workers.

Walkouts could also take place in the public service when announcements of salary increases are expected on Tuesday, particularly in education or health, with a figure of 5% increase circulating in the press and already denounced by trade unions.

A strike notice was however suspended in early July among British Airways ground staff at Heathrow airport, after a wage offer deemed satisfactory by the unions.

Source: www.challenges.fr

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