Officials at London’s Heathrow Airport and a union representing 4,000 workers have averted a two-day strike at Europe’s busiest airport during the peak of summer travel season.
The strike, which had already been called off for Monday, will also be suspended Tuesday so that the workers, including security guards, firefighters, engineers and drivers, can vote on a package offering improved pay.
Heathrow and Unite the Union both confirmed the news on their Twitter accounts; however, the union said it was keeping its planned strike for Aug. 23-24 on the calendar until it learns the result of the vote.
Heathrow acknowledged that possibility in its tweet and advised fliers to visit the airport’s FAQ regarding procedures during strikes and other industrial actions.
Majority of canceled flights reinstated
The airport had canceled more than 170 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in preparation of a work stoppage.
However, after Sunday’s decision to keep talks alive, Heathrow advised passengers to check with their carriers about whether their flights would be reinstated. Many did, including British Airways, Air Canada, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways.
As of 5:15 p.m. local time Monday, Heathrow had only 18 cancellations, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.
Why workers threatened to strike
Airport workers in the Unite union earlier rejected an offer that Heathrow officials said included a 7.3% pay increase over 2½ years.
Unite officials said they were focused on closing disparities between airport workers doing the same job, as well an “unacceptable” pay gap between workers and Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye; his compensation package is worth $5.1 million.
“It takes Mr. Holland-Kaye around two days to earn what some of the lowest paid Heathrow workers earn in a year,” the union said.
Flight cancellations: Heathrow Airport cancels 172 flights ahead of planned strike
Contributing: Associated Press
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