Black hole looming for Heathrow luggage as baggage specialists strike throughout March

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, is warning passengers who are separated from their luggage at Heathrow next month, that they are unlikely to be reunited with it, as specialist baggage handlers take fresh strike action over pay.

March strikes

The workers who are employed by Global Baggage Solutions Ltd will begin strike action at 00:01 on Monday 2 March until 23:59 on Monday 9 March. There will be two further eight day periods of strike action beginning on Saturday 14 March until Saturday 21 March and Thursday 26 March until Thursday 2 April.

The workers play a crucial role in locating and repatriating lost baggage with worried customers.

Penny pinching

The strike is a result of Global Baggage Solutions refusing to make a pay offer for 2019 and offering just a 32 pence an hour increase for 2020. Some of the workers are paid just £9.94 an hour and all are paid below the London Living Wage of £10.75 an hour.

London Living Wage

Unite is seeking an across the board pay increase to ensure all the workers receive the London Living Wage as a minimum.

The revelations that Global Baggage Solutions is not paying the London Living Wage, the minimum amount of money needed to live in London, is acutely embarrassing for Heathrow Airport which portrays itself as a living wage employer.

Lost luggage

Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: “Passengers using Heathrow in March need to be aware that if their luggage disappears it is likely to be trapped in a black hole.

“Passengers may find the potential that their bags may disappear as distressing, but need to understand this is directly a result of the penny pinching of Global Baggage Solutions.

“The workforce undertake an important role at the airport, yet Global Baggage Solutions believe that it is appropriate to pay the workers less than the minimum needed to live in London.

“The strikes also expose that Heathrow is far from a living wage employer, as in order to achieve this all of the airports sub-contractors and supply chain must abide by the rules.

“Further strikes can still be avoided but Global Baggage Solutions must be prepared to put more money on the table.”

There has already been two strikes earlier this month from 2 February to 5 February and from 22 to 25 February.

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