There appears to be an end in sight to the chaos at London’s Heathrow airport. British Airways has confirmed that all of its employees are returning to work. Their unofficial strike has paralysed the busiest airport in the world, grounding around 70,000 people during the peak holiday season, and costing BA an estimated 14 million euros a day. Despite the latest development flights will not resume immediately. “We have been here since five am this morning, they haven’t told us anything. Our luggage has already been checked in. We are so frustrated, we don’t know what to do, all our money is finished because we are in transit,” one passenger said.
“We are not too frustrated, we understand the situation but it would have helped if we had better communication, that’s the only thing,” another passenger remarked. BA staff walked out in sympathy with workers sacked by Gate Gourmet, the airline’s catering supplier. Transport union official John Perry said: “We hope that Gate Gourmet, or British Airways is able to reinstate these workers so that stranded passengers are able to go away on holiday. We’ve got people who’ve worked here for 15 or 20 years. They received redundancy notices giving them just minutes to leave, so I feel sorry for the holidaymakers but I feel very, very sorry for the people who are being sacked here.”
The dispute began on Wednesday when Gate Gourmet fired 600 employees following a strike over restructuring plans. Talks between the company and union bosses are continuing.