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London’s Heathrow airport staff to strike ahead of FIFA World Cup

About 700 workers involved in ground-handling, airside transport and cargo will strike for three days from November 18.

Passengers queue inside the departures terminal of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London
Passengers queue inside the departures terminal of Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London [File: Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

Hundreds of London’s Heathrow airport workers are set to walk out in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup over demands for better pay.

The Unite union said on Friday that 700 workers involved in ground-handling, airside transport and cargo, employed by the Emirates Group’s airport services subsidiary Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata) and Menzies, will strike for three days starting November 18.

The World Cup 2022 will start in Qatar three days later, on November 20.

Qatar Airways, which has scheduled an additional 10 flights a week during the football tournament, will be particularly affected.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said in a statement: “Strike action will inevitably cause disruption, delays and cancellations to flights throughout Heathrow, with travellers to the World Cup particularly affected.”

The strike action at Europe’s busiest airport will lead to disruptions, cancellations and delays at Heathrow terminals 2, 3 and 4.

Other airlines, including Virgin, Singapore Airlines, Cathay-Pacific and Emirates, will also be affected, said Unite.

A Heathrow spokesperson told BBC broadcaster: “We are aware of proposed industrial action from Dnata and Menzies colleagues at Heathrow, and we are in discussions with our airline partners on what contingency plans they can implement to support their ground handling should the strike go ahead.”

The Doha-based competition will be the first time the World Cup will be held in the Middle East.

The event is projected to bring more than 1.2 million people to the country.

Source: News Agencies