Passengers warned luggage could ‘disappear forever’


Passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport have been warned their missing luggage could “disappear forever” ahead of the strikes that are due to start today.

Two sets of strikes were announced earlier this month, with the first beginning on Sunday, February 2 local time.

The strikes involve workers employed by Global Baggage Solutions Ltd who are responsible for helping passengers find lost luggage and for returning missing bags to their owners, The Sun reported.

Unite, the union representing the workers, say they are demanding the London Living Wage of £10.75 ($A21.19) an hour, with senior handlers receiving a higher wage.

However, they say the company has refused to negotiate.

In response, Unite have called two separate strikes, each lasting four days.

The first strike will run from Sunday, February 2 to Wednesday, February 5.

The second strike will be later this month, from Saturday, February 22 to Tuesday, February 25.

Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe and seventh busiest in the world and handled more than 80 million passengers in 2018.

Although the union has not confirmed how many workers are involved in the strike, Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said passengers should be prepared.

“Heathrow passengers need to be aware that if their baggage is mislaid, it could disappear forever while our members are on strike,” she said.

“Our members will no longer accept low pay, and this dispute is completely a result of the refusal by Global Baggage Solutions to negotiate.

“Our members are taking strike action as a last resort, as life is becoming a daily struggle to survive on poverty pay rates.

“There is still time for strike action to be avoided if Global Baggage Solutions is prepared to make a realistic pay offer and return to the negotiating table.”

Unite is also threatening a separate strike at Heathrow involving ground handling firm Vanderlande Industries.

The union is balloting its members on whether or not to strike, with the voting closing on February 14.

If Vanderlande workers vote to strike, they will need to give two weeks’ notice by law, meaning that a strike will not happen until the end of February.

Sun Online Travel has contacted Heathrow Airport and Global Baggage Solutions Ltd for comment.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission


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