Hundreds of Heathrow airport employees will go on strike later this month for three days, which could deter fans flying to Qatar for the World Cup.

The Unite union said 700 workers from Europe’s busiest airport’s ground handling, airside transport, and cargo would go on strike.

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The walkout is over pay and will be from the early hours of Friday, November 18 till the early hours of Monday, November 21.

Fans flying to the World Cup could miss England’s first game, a group match against Iran as a result of the action.

The strike is expected to cause delays at Heathrow Terminals 2, 3, and 4.

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Qatar Airways operates from Terminal 4 and has added 10 flights per week during the tournament.

After a chaotic summer of cancelled flights, long delays, mountains of lost baggage, and a daily passenger limit, the strike threatens to cause further disruption at Heathrow.

It also complicates matters for its CEO, John Holland-Kaye, after Heathrow’s decision to impose a 100,000 daily passenger cap between mid-July and the end of October enraged airlines.

READ MORE: ROYAL MAIL WORKERS WALK OUT IN THE FIRST OF 19 DAYS OF STRIKES

Sir Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin Atlantic, said earlier this week that if Heathrow imposed additional capacity restrictions at Christmas, he would be “really p****d.”

The summer disruption also fueled speculation about Holland Kaye’s future at the airport, after Willie Walsh, the director general of airline body Iata and former boss of British Airways parent group IAG, calling Heathrow “a bunch of idiots when it comes to running airports.”

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

READ MORE: ROYAL MAIL STAFF SET FOR 19-DAYS OF STRIKE ACTION IN THE RUN-UP TO CHRISTMAS

Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates will also be affected by the strike action.

Passengers returning to the United States for the Thanksgiving holiday may be affected as well.

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Sharon Graham, the general secretary of Unite said: “Our members at Dnata and Menzies undertake highly challenging roles and are simply seeking a decent pay rise. Both companies are highly profitable and can fully afford to make a fair pay increase.”

Unite said Dnata had offered its workers a five percent pay increase, while the offer from Menzies ranged from two percent to six percent. The union said both of the companies were offering real-terms pay cuts.

”Dnata said its UK airport operations business was making a financial loss each month as a result of inflation and the impact of the pandemic. The company called Unite’s proposed salary increase “irresponsible” and said it did not “reflect the challenging economic environment” for the business.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “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. Our priority is to ensure passengers are not disrupted by airline ground handler shortages.

Source: The Guardian

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