Heathrow disruption threat as cargo crew strike looms, warns Unite

Passenger flights could be disrupted at Heathrow due to strike action by cargo workers, the UK’s largest union has warned.

Two three-day strikes have been called from this week (Wednesday June 27) in a row over pay.

Unite’s 275 members at Swissport Cargo Services have voted to walk out from 6.30am on June 27 until 6.29am on June 30 and between 6.30am on July 4 and 6.29am on July 7.

Big carriers that could be hit include Singapore Airlines and Korean Air, according to the union.

Passengers flying from Heathrow could have their flights “severely affected” because the strikes will delay the cargo being put on the aircraft. The cargo has to be configured in a certain way before the aircraft can be cleared for take off.

Of the 185 ballots returned, 116 (62.7%) voted for strike action and 69 voted against (37.3%).

Unite represents cargo administrators, warehouse operatives and supervisors.

The union’s regional officer Kevin Hall said: “Swissport has continually refused to negotiate on a pay rise for the year 2010/2011.

“Our members, faced with rising household bills, have been driven to take this action which could be severely disruptive to flights at Heathrow, as the summer holiday season kicks off.

“Flights could be delayed as cargo on passenger flights has to be properly configured before the plane can take off – if cargo and vehicles are in the wrong place because of the strike this is going to have adverse knock-on affects.

“Imports and exports of perishable goods, such as fruit and flowers, will also be hit.”

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