United Airlines’ transatlantic operations are at risk of disruption
LONDON – United Airlines’ transatlantic operations face disruption as workers based at Heathrow Airport start voting on industrial action.
The ballot is open and will close on October 11, the main argument being that the proposed increase of 5% this year and 4% in 2023 in wages is not enough.
Unite the Union argues the increase must be larger as the airline reported quarterly profit of $329 million.
They also argue that increases must exceed RPI inflation of 12.3%, which is the current rate in the UK and which is expected to continue to rise as we move into winter.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said the following about the situation:
“United Airlines is offering workers a pay cut when it can afford to pay its staff fairly. To make matters worse, bosses want to tear up a longstanding agreement banning the use of outsourced workers.
“These are red lines that workers will not cross, so the airline faces the prospect of unwavering industrial action. Unite members have the full support of their union to protect their wages, terms and conditions.
Unite Regional Manager Clare Keogh also added to Graham’s statement:
“Unite has a longstanding commitment from United Airlines to prioritize direct employment. Now management wants to open the floodgates to agency and outsourced labor.”
“Our members want fair compensation and they will not allow a race to the bottom. Labor feels it has no choice but to hold a union vote. It’s time for United Airlines to think again.
American Airlines faces the same challenges…
American Airlines also faces the same challenge at Heathrow Airport, with airport-based engineers voting for industrial action on September 7.
It is understood that the 50 maintenance technicians and team leaders will go on strike against the offer proposed by American, which will see a rise of 5.3% for technicians and 3.8% for team leaders .
In year two, all workers would receive a lump sum cash payment, while in year three a wage freeze would be put in place.
At the time, Graham said the following about it:
“American Airlines’ salary offer is appalling. This equates to a significant drop in wages in real terms from year to year.
“Our members will no longer accept real wage cuts as the cost of living crisis unfolds. Unite will defend the jobs, wages and conditions of our American Airlines members, and they have Unite’s unwavering support as they fight for a fair wage increase.
Regional Officer, Joe McGowan also added to this:
“Any disruption to American Airlines’ operations at Heathrow will be the fault of the airline for making such an unacceptable offer.”
“These are highly skilled and committed workers, but American Airlines offered them what is, in effect, a three-year pay cut. He needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a realistic compensation proposal.
The results of this ballot will be revealed on September 30. It will be interesting to see what each airline’s votes will look like and if we can see any potential disruption in the winter schedule.