Heathrow strike called off by dnata ground handlers after new pay offer

But hundreds of staff employed by Menzies still going ahead with protest action

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Passengers collect their luggage from the baggage reclaim area of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport on December 19, 2018 in London, England. The Government has published an immigration white paper detailing proposals for changes to the current immigration laws and levels post Brexit. (Photo by Niklas Halle'n - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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Strike action announced by workers involved in ground handling, airside transport and cargo at Heathrow Airport has been partially called off, days before the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

About 700 workers employed by Emirates Group's airport services subsidiary dnata were due to strike for three days, starting on Friday. Similar workers employed by Menzies were also striking.

But employees at dnata cancelled their protest action after agreeing a new pay deal, which the company says will help employees manage the effects of rising living costs.

Employees at Menzies are still striking but experts have said while the action could cause delays it was unlikely to result in cancellations.

A Heathrow representative said: “Affected airlines already have contingency matters in place and flight cancellations are not anticipated.

"We encourage passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline.”

Independent travel expert Rob Staines said 350 Menzies ground-handling agents were participating in the walkout, with delays expected at Heathrow terminals 2, 3 and 4.

“If delayed for over 2/3 hours you must be provided with refreshments and a phone/email contact,” he tweeted.

Unite shared a post on Twitter with a picture of workers on a picket line that said: “A big shout out to Menzies ground handlers at #Heathrow Airport taking strike action today for #FairPay.”

Alex Doisneau, managing director at dnata UK, said: “We are pleased to have reached agreement on this pay award, which reflects the huge respect we have for our employees in the UK.

“The agreed package, including both a pay increase and immediate support for the short term, provides concrete support for our employees amidst the current cost-of-living crisis.

Heathrow through the years - in pictures

He said dnata was "heavily invested in the UK and we look forward to continuing our journey with our employees as we focus our efforts on strengthening our leading position in the market”.

Unite said Menzies had made pay offers below Retail Price Index inflation.

“The strike action will inevitably cause serious delays for passengers at Heathrow but this dispute is entirely of Menzies’s own making,” said Unite regional officer Kevin Hall.

“It has had every opportunity to make our members a fair pay offer but has stubbornly refused to do so.”

Updated: November 18, 2022, 11:59 AM