plane food on tray

Strike vote over ‘punishing’ working patterns at Heathrow

International airlines flying from Heathrow Airport face major disruption to the supply of inflight food, drink and duty free after members of Unite voted for strike action over the imposition of ‘punishing’ new rotas.

Workers employed by Alpha LSG will take strike action from 00.01 on Wednesday 22 May concluding at 23.59 on Sunday 26 May. 87 per cent of the workers that took part in the ballot voted for strike action.

HGV drivers employed by Alpha LSG at Heathrow are responsible for transporting food, drink and duty free to planes. The company supplies 29 airlines including American Airlines, Air Canada, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways (see notes to editors).

On 1 March Alpha LSG imposed new rosters on HGV drivers who transport food, drinks and duty free to planes at Heathrow Airport. The workers claim the punishing new rosters are affecting their health and family life.

• Many drivers are working an extra 25 days a year and losing 12 weekends a year.
• Drivers have to work 5-6 weeks before they get a weekend off to spend with their families.
• Drivers report that they struggle to complete their work within their shifts, regularly driving back late to their workplace beyond their agreed finish times.
• The company has refused to ensure that there is a minimum break of 11 hours between shifts.
• Some drivers report working 10 hour shifts on consecutive days.
• All drivers are subject to different start times each day.

Unite regional officer, Jayesh Mistry said: “Alpha LSG at Heathrow has imposed a punishing new shift pattern on its drivers. The new rosters are taking a heavy toll on the workers’ well-being. The company is treating workers with contempt by trying to force them to work an extra 12 weekends a year. It’s an attack on family life and the drivers are fighting back. They are getting shorter rest breaks plus increased workloads are piling pressure on the workforce.

“The drivers have raised their serious concerns but so far the company has refused to listen. Unite is meeting Alpha LSG next week and we hope this overwhelming vote for strike action will act as a wake-up call for management.

“A strike will cause major disruption to a number of international airlines at Heathrow. Alpha LSG is treating its workforce with contempt but it is also putting the airlines it serves at risk of severe and unnecessary disruption. It’s time for Alpha LSG to remember its duty of care and resolve this dispute.”

ENDS

Alpha LSG at Heathrow serve the following airlines: American Airlines, Air Canada, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Japan Airlines (JAL), ANA (to 45 destinations in Japan), Air New Zealand, Air China, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Avianca (flights to Latin America), Bangladesh Airlines, China Eastern, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan, Kenya Airways, Kuwait Airlines, Lufthansa AG, Middle East Airlines, Air Mauritius, Philippine Airline, Pakistan International Airlines, Royal Brunei, Royal Jordanian, Vietnam Airlines.

Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focused on pay and conditions.

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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