Heathrow airport is threatened by further chaos this summer after workers responsible for refueling planes voted for a 72-hour strike over wages.
Aviation Fuel Services (AFS) staff backed a strike on July 21 over refusal to raise wages, Unite said. It added that this is likely to cause “significant disruption and delays at Heathrow”.
AFS, a joint venture with fuel companies such as BP, provides refueling services to more than 70 airlines at the airport, including Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, United, SAS, Air France, Emirates, Delta, JAL, KLM and Singapore Airlines.
British Airways, which this month is canceling flights for up to 105,000 holidaymakers from Heathrow and Gatwick, is unaffected because it uses a different supplier.
The result of the vote was announced as air and rail passengers braced for an unprecedented summer of strikes, while travel sector workers protest over pay and conditions.
The Transport Salried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which represents station and ticket office workers, also said on Tuesday that more than 300 employees of CrossCountry trains and East Midlands Railway will be on strike over wages, jobs and conditions.
The move comes as more than 90 percent of train services across Britain are being canceled later this summer as drivers threaten their first national strike since 1995.
Aslef, the train drivers’ union, will vote on industrial actions at 10 train companies that coincide with similar action by the TSSA.
It follows industrial action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union last month, which led to the biggest disruption to Britain’s railways in a generation.
Mick Whelan, head of Aslef, warned of “massive” disruptions, telling the Financial Times: “It will be much more disruptive than in the past. We don’t strike as often.”
Unite has also announced that 2,400 Royal Mail managers will work to rule from July 15-19 and strike on July 20, 21 and 22. The strike was called over plans to cut 700 jobs and cut wages by £7,000, Unite said.
A Heathrow spokesperson said the airport is in talks with airlines about contingency plans “including the use of other fuel suppliers already operating at the airport”.