The proposed catering strike at Heathrow, which would have meant no catering on British Airways flights on 4th March and 5th March, has been postponed.
100 HGV drivers at DO&CO, the firm used by British Airways for its catering out of London Heathrow, had voted for strike action.
The industrial dispute was over a number of issues. As well as the alleged refusal of the company to discuss a pay rise for staff, there were also issues over employment contracts and – interestingly – allegations over the treatment of the funds in the company pension scheme.
According to a statement published on the Unite website this morning:
“About 100 HGV drivers at premium aviation catering firm DO & CO at Heathrow will be voting on new pay deal that is worth just under 14 per cent overall, Unite the union said today (Thursday 3 March).
This means that the strikes due to have taken place tomorrow (Friday 4 March) and Saturday (5 March) over pay have been suspended while the drivers vote on the offer. The ballot is expected to be completed by Friday 11 March.
The pay offer means that the drivers, who joined DO & CO as part of the 2020 TUPE transfer process, will receive a six per cent increase on basic pay. Additionally, the base salary for other drivers will rise to £33,000-a-year thereby achieving parity for all drivers that amounts to just under a 14 per cent increase in pay from 1 April 2022. The company has also recognised Unite for collective bargaining for the drivers and talks on recognition for the rest of the workforce continue.”
Whilst it is possible that the offer will be rejected and that further strikes will be called for late March, my feeling is that this offer appears acceptable – especially to those drivers who found themselves being paid less than colleagues who had transferred. It is worth noting, however, that the union statement makes no mention of progress over the alleged mismanagement of the pension scheme.