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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 catering

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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Comments (44)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Panda Mick says:

    Regarding Hertz: They’ve been my go – to car hire company of choice for as long as I remember…. Especially in London.

    However, rented a van from Enterprise in Earlsfield, London a couple of day ago: The customer service was nothing short of wonderful. Manager of the branch walked me around the van, gave me a business card and treated me like, well, a human. The difference between hertz and Enterprise customer service was polar opposites…

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Hertz used to be my go to until one day I went to pick up my rental and they advised it only came with 3rd party insurance and wanted to charge me more than the cost of the rental to up the cover to FC. I was livid, after arguing about the legality of such a thing I walked away and promptly rented from Enterprise also, that guy was mega.

      I have never gone back.

      • Lady London says:

        Hertz Vans at their Feltham depot were excellent for me over a number of years (they have some cars too). I hope they will still be there when I next need a van.

    • RussellH says:

      I have always found Enterprise to be pretty helpful. Once recently they were unable to drive me home from the depot, but otherwise they have been excellent: two vehicles delivered to my door, one taken away at the promised time after I asked for it to be taken away.
      The manager in Perth some years back paid for a taxi to the station when there was no one to take us there.
      Strangely, given their advertising about British Car Hire with American service, I have found the standard of service here much better than in the USA.

  • david says:

    happy for t4. the place that i leave my car is 10 min (luggage free) walk from T4. and left it there for a good 3-4 weeks paid for via my car tax.

    ps. never leave in front of someones house, theres ample space to not do that

    • John says:

      Before covid there would only be free spaces if you arrive before 0530 or just as someone was leaving

  • David S says:

    I avoid using Avis when booked with a BA flight because every time the final cost is always at least 5% to 10% more then expected and impossible to work out why. And despite cars being available I cannot book a Group C car (but I can book a Budget Group C car…..which doesn’t give you the same benefits. ) Both cars are from the same pool of vehicles , so just BA being silly

    • sayling says:

      Had that issue before, too (the extra charges) – three times, returning the car to Toronto Pearson. Pay it with AmEx, dispute the charge on return, get it refunded. No quibbles from AmEx nor Avis.

    • yonasl says:

      I had this in Mexico and can explain:

      – In countries like Mexico services are sometimes offered in USD but charged in local MXN instead

      – so let’s say you go pick up your car and Avis has a tarifa of $100 per day. That gets converted to MXN 10,000. BA issues a voucher for MXN 10,000 for your rental

      – when you return the car Avis computes the tariff again. Basically they say: a car for 1 day is $100 which today is MXN 10,100 (as the exchange rate changed). Your voucher was for MXN 10,000 so you have to pay an additional MXN 100

      This is obviously out of your control and none of your business so I always dispute these and get the money back!

  • Walter Spracklin says:

    The food has got so repugnant im amazed it’s still Do&Co. Are you sure it’s not Poundland doing the catering?
    A strike will save them the effort of making those disgusting pies, carrying them to the plane, reheating them, then binning them as everyone leaves the slop.
    Surprised the scroungers and dreamers on FT haven’t already started a compensation thread.
    Value to not have to eat a BA pie. They’ll be paying BA.

    • Rob says:

      Have to say I had a very good chicken pie in Club Europe flying back from Salzburg last Saturday. About the only bit of the flight that wasn’t a disaster.

      • Lady London says:

        ? What happened Rob? I had SZG is my sights for a run this year on BA

        • Rob says:

          Nothing wrong with that, just the BA chaos at Heathrow on Saturday when we landed.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Could’ve just stayed at home then and spent some Virgin points At Greggs

  • James Harper says:

    Are Gate Gourmet and BA the only two companies in the UK who have not yet realised that HGV drivers can now command higher salaries? They either pay it or lose them and then have the same recruitment problems BA are having replacing all the cabin crew they made redundant or forced out with poor terms and conditions.

  • Jeff77 says:

    Aeroflot banned from the U.K.

    Probably doesn’t affect many on here though

  • PJ Richardson says:

    Does this mean no crisps and bottles of water on Athens flights?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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