Monday, November 28, 2011

Airlines at Heathrow Begin Canceling Flights Ahead of November 30 Public Strike

As a follow-up to my earlier posting on a public sector strike affecting Heathrow Airport on November 30, airlines servicing Heathrow reported on Monday (November 28) that they are canceling some flights in and out of Heathrow ahead of the strike that will include those that process new arrivals through immigration.

As many as 2 million public workers in Britain are expected to join a one-day walkout on Wednesday, from immigration officials to teachers to garbage collectors, in an escalating dispute over planned changes to public-sector pensions.

Although staff and contractors not participating in the strike will be brought in to cover for striking immigration officials at all of Britain's borders, most airlines have advised passengers to reschedule any journeys planned for Wednesday into the UK.

COMMENT: Heathrow's owner, BAA, has warned that there may well be 12-hour delays at immigration halls at Europe's busiest airport. As a result, Heathrow management has asked all airlines to fly half-full airliners into Heathrow during the strike. Gatwick Airport has warned passengers to be prepared for "significant disruption" at immigration as well.

British Airways and Virgin both agreed last week to waive the normal charges for passengers looking to rebook their flights for Wednesday.

In the latest dispute, workers oppose government demands that they work longer before receiving a pension, contribute more money each month and accept a pension calculated using their average career salary, rather than their final salary.

For our readers that are unaware of the strike, it is suggested you contact your airline IMMEDIATELY if you are planning to fly through Heathrow tomorrow, November 30.

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