DHL Aviation workers represented by Unite have announced 24 days of strike targeting the cargo airline at East Midlands Airport, which the travel hub says will not impacted passengers
An airline’s operations at a major UK airport could be brought to a standstill when workers walk out tomorrow.
Members of Unite working for DHL Aviation at East Midlands Airport are set to begin industrial action tomorrow and have promised the “dispute will dramatically escalate.”
The initial ten days of strikes involving 180 members of Unite will now be followed by a further 14 days of action beginning on Monday 19 February. A picket line will be in place during the dispute from tomorrow at 6am until 1pm.
Unite has accused DHL failing to make an improved pay offer to resolve the dispute. It says that the company has only been prepared to offer a 9.8% increase, which is in effect a real-terms pay cut.
The pay increase was due in April 2023 when the real rate of inflation (RPI) stood at 11.3%
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “DHL is a multi-million-pound company. It can fully afford to dramatically improve its pay offer and the behaviour in failing to address our member concerns. Our members will have Unite’s unwavering support throughout the action.”
Unite members who undertake ramp duties, provide aircraft handling and oversee the tower, are paid from £10.96 an hour, the union has said. Such functions are crucial to the everyday running of an airline. Without them, aircraft are unable to get off the ground.
Unite has previously said it is concerned that the knock-on effect of the strikes could “prove disastrous, with health and safety potentially compromised due to inadequate training, as contracts are temporarily transferred to competitors”.
The union has warned it could “have a huge domino effect on the public, as medical supplies, animal transport and general posts or parcels face significant delays.”
DHL is a cargo airline so there will be no direct impact on customers. A spokesperson for East Midlands Airport said that “the strike will not have any effect whatsoever on passenger flights.”
Melanie Todner, Unite regional officer, concluded: “DHL Aviation’s lack of accountability and unwillingness to engage has led to this escalation in industrial action. The disruption that is bound to follow is entirely a result of DHL’s actions.”
Full strike dates at East Midlands Airport:
- 9 February – 12.01am to 1pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm
- 10, 17, 24 February and 2 March – 5.30pm to 9.30pm
- 11, 18, 25 February and 3 March – 4.30pm to 8.30pm
- 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 23, 26 February and 1 March 5.30am to 1pm, 5pm to 9.30pm
East Midlands Airport East Midlands Airport connects over 4.2 million passengers with the world, serving more than 90 destinations. They include holiday favourites such as Alicante in Spain, Antalya in Turkey and Budapest in Hungary. The airport has established itself as a hub for low-fare airlines such as Jet2.com and Ryanair and tour operators like TUI Airways
DHL has been contacted for comment.