LONDON, England: British Airways' staff at London's Heathrow airport has voted to strike due to pay disputes.
Amidst an already chaotic summer for air travelers, the move threatens to disrupt one of Europe's busiest aviation hubs.
The proposed strike will affect fewer than half of the airline's Heathrow-based check-in and ground staff in mostly customer-facing roles, including those assisting passengers and baggage handlers.
According to the GMB union, after British Airways failed to roll back a 10 percent pay cut imposed during the pandemic, some 95 percent of British Airways' staff at Heathrow who voted backed the strike action.
The union warned that Heathrow would likely face a "summer of strikes," adding that strikes would likely take place during the peak summer holiday period over the next two months.
Workers must give two weeks notice to British Airways before going on strike.
In an emailed statement, British Airways said, "We are extremely disappointed with the result."
"Despite the extremely challenging environment, we made an offer of a 10 percent payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues. We are fully committed to work together to find a solution," it added.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said British Airways should prepare contingency plans to minimize passenger disruptions.
Of note, salaries of British Airways' senior management have returned to pre-pandemic levels, while ground staff has not, the union said.
"BA has tried to offer our members crumbs from the table in the form of a 10 percent one-off bonus payment, but this does not cut the mustard," said GMB National Officer Nadine Houghton.
A Heathrow spokesperson said the airport would "support BA to minimize any potential disruption to passengers."