Members of trade union GMB working as ground handling staff at Heathrow Airport will receive additional annual leave entitlements as part of a pay dispute settlement.
Eligible employees working for airport service provider Menzies Aviation at Heathrow Airport will receive one additional day of leave backdated at four points of service: three, six, nine and 12 years. Staff currently on Menzies Aviation contracts will receive the leave allowance they have earned so far on their next anniversary of employment.
This agreement concludes a dispute over pay and terms and conditions between Menzies Aviation and GMB. Following talks that began in 2017, GMB members voted 97% in favour of rejecting a pay and conditions offer made to them by the organisation in September 2018; Menzies Aviation brought in the new terms, and attempts were made to reach a resolution via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), which, ultimately, were unsuccessful.
In February and March 2019, GMB held a consultative ballot among its members that resulted in support for an official vote on industrial action. Following this, an agreement was reached in July 2019.
In addition to the supplementary annual leave policy, a working agreement is now in place to review the organisation’s wider benefits provision for staff at Heathrow. This will discuss, among others, elements such as sickness benefits and skill payments, with a view to implementing solutions by 31 January 2020.
Trevlyn McLeod, regional organiser at GMB, said: “We are happy that, after so many months, Menzies sat down with us and we were able to resolve some of the issues that are of great concern to our members.
“Our members felt that Menzies’ offer devalued the workforce and was an insult to all the staff affected and [it] was agreed despite a 97% rejection. 3.5% and 3% over two years is not ample reward for the daily and duress staff are forced to continually operate under.
“We, as a union, represent all the workforce, and what we see as gains for some employees will lead to gains for all employees now and in the future. What we gain today cannot be taken away and should be built upon and enhanced so everybody can reap the benefits.
“All our members should be proud of what they have achieved in the last two years.”
Menzies Aviation was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.