British Airways catering strike looming at Heathrow
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100 HGV drivers at DO&CO, the firm used by British Airways for its catering out of London Heathrow, have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.
The strike is due to take place on 4th March and 5th March.
The industrial action is over a number of issues. As well as the alleged refusal of the company to discuss a pay rise for staff, there are also issues over employment contracts and – interestingly – allegations over the treatment of the funds in the company pension scheme.
DO&CO is also facing unfair dismissal claims from workers who left the company during the pandemic. When British Airways moved its catering contract from Gate Gourmet and DHL to the more upmarket DO&CO in 2020, 1,800 workers moved across under TUPE agreements. Over 1,000 were then made redundant.
We have had catering strikes at British Airways before, of course. For short haul services it tends to lead to improved catering, since the airline sets up takeaway boxes in the lounge. It is more difficult for long haul services.
As the workers are DO&CO employees, the blame for the strike cannot be placed directly at the door of British Airways. You can, of course, argue that the airline puts its suppliers in a position where they cannot afford to pay staff an adequate wage, but we don’t know the terms of the supply contract. DO&CO is a substantially more upmarket business than Gate Gourmet and it was a surprising – but welcome – discovery that British Airways was changing suppliers. DO&CO invested heavily in new facilities as part of the deal, with truly terrible timing due to the pandemic.
You can find out more on the Unite union website here although the article has not yet been updated with the strike ballot result.
Flights from Gatwick and London City will not be impacted by the strike.
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