DALLAS – American Airlines (AA) is preparing for significant disruption to its London Heathrow Airport (LHR) operation after workers voted to strike over a pay dispute.
Around 50 members of AA’s maintenance and crew chiefs based at the airport voted overwhelmingly (98%) in favor of the walk-out. This followed an “appalling” pay offer, which Unite union boss Sharon Graham said amounted to “a three-year pay cut.”
“That is simply unacceptable. As the strength of the vote shows, our members are rock solid and ready to strike for a fair deal,” Graham added.
The deal would have seen AA engineers receive a 5.3% pay increase, while crew chiefs would receive 3.8% in year one. A lump sum would be paid to all workers in the second year before a pay freeze in the third.
Unite added that AA’s recent record profits further proved that the pay deal was unfair. In July 2022, the airline revealed second-quarter revenue of US$476m, a 12.2% increase on the same period last year.
“American Airlines has boasted of its strong growth and post-pandemic rebound so let’s see that translate into a better deal for the workforce,” said Graham.
In a statement, the airline said, “We’re committed to making sure all of our team members are paid well and competitively. We’re disappointed we haven’t yet been able to reach a pay agreement with Unite that will ensure our London-based Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMT) continue to receive industry-leading pay, but we remain committed to reaching an agreement as quickly as possible.”
How the Walkout Affects London Heathrow
AA has 23 departures daily from LHR, covering ten destinations across the US. Any strike action would leave the airline vulnerable to cancellations and delays.
News of the potential strike comes just days after LHR announced that it would lift its 100K daily passenger cap on October 29, 2022.
Fellow US carrier United Airlines (UA) is also facing disruption as its Unite members, based at LHR, are discussing strike action over their pay and conditions. Their ballot for industrial action closes on October 11.
Featured Image: AA Boeing 777-223ER (N753AN). Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways