The first part of a two-day strike at London’s Heathrow airport was averted and some flights were reinstated as talks with ground staff continue, while British Airways is also set to hold a new round of negotiations with pilots in a separate pay dispute.
The Unite union, which had balloted 4,000 Heathrow ground workers on a strike, suspended its action scheduled for Monday, according to a post on Twitter, saying it would resume talks at Britain’s state-backed Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. A planned Tuesday walkout is still due to go ahead, according to the airport’s website. Unite said it would begin at midnight local time.
— Unite the union (@unitetheunion) August 4, 2019
Europe’s busiest air hub originally canceled more than 170 services for both Monday and Tuesday. After the Monday walkout was called off, British Airways, Heathrow’s biggest carrier, said it would reinstate services, while Air Canada, BA sister company Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways are among operators also planning a full schedule, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.
About 88% of union members had voted to strike, suggesting about 2,500 people planned to walk out, the BBC said. About 90 airlines would be affected.
British Airways is meanwhile set to resume talks with the British Airline Pilots Association, or Balpa, in a bid to defuse its own labor dispute. The union agreed on Friday to extend negotiations with former U.K. flag carrier, now a unit of IAG SA, after three days of meetings at the conciliator. The union also said it would avoid setting strike dates for now.
The labor conflicts and potential travel upheaval at the height of the summer season come with Heathrow and BA also facing pressure from a possible no-deal Brexit that could damp travel as Britons curb spending due to the weaker pound.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.