American Airlines proposed a three-year pay cut to its maintenance technicians, crew chiefs, and engineers at Heathrow Airport earlier this week.
As a direct result, 98% of the engineers voted to reject the proposal and to instead take strike action.
The proposal saw salaries reduced by 5.3% for technicians or 3.8% for crew chiefs in the first year, all staff to receive lump sum cash payments in the second year, followed by a pay freeze in the third year.
Heathrow Airport and American Airlines have both experienced a positive post-pandemic recovery. The decision to strike may see the 23 daily American Airline departures delayed or cancelled, leaving a mark on these recoveries so far.
American Airlines have reported record revenues of £11.8 billion proving to the workers and the union that despite pandemic setbacks, the company has enough money to pay its workers.
Sharon Graham, general secretary for Unite the Union, commented on the proposal: “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 long-standing agreement barring the use of outsourced workers,” she said.
Inflation is increasing the cost of living all around the world, with the inflation rate in the UK currently sitting at 12.3%. Unite the Union, a union that represents both United Airlines and American Airlines workers, stands behind the workers’ decision to strike.
Sharon Graham wrote, “Amid a cost of living emergency, American Airlines is proposing that our members accept a three-year pay cut. That is simply unacceptable. As the strength of this vote shows, our members are rock solid and ready to strike for a fair deal.”
“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. Our American Airlines members have Unite’s total support during these strikes,” Graham said.
Joe McGowan, regional officer for Unite the Union, also spoke about the proposed industrial action.
“American Airlines must return to the negotiation table with an offer our members can accept.”
At present, dates have not been set for the strikes, however, an announcement will be coming in the next few days. Three hundred Unite the Union members employed at Heathrow by United Airlines may also go on strike over pay, with the ballot of industrial action closing on 11 October.