Holidaymakers have been warned that cargo staff plan to strike at Heathrow tomorrow, 27th June, until 30th, and then again for another three-day period, in July.
Staff at Swissport Cargo Services will strike from 6.30am on Wednesday 27 June until 6.29am on Saturday 30 June and from 6.30am on Wednesday 4 July until 6.29am on Saturday 7 July.
The cargo staff union claims Swissport has refused to discuss their pay dispute for 2011/2011 and the action means passengers on affected flights could be affected by delays.
Unite, the union involved, has said Singapore and Korean airlines could be affected.
A spokesman for the striking workers said, "Our members, faced with rising household bills, have been driven to take this action which could be severely disruptive to flights at Heathrow, as the summer holiday season kicks off.
"Flights could be delayed as cargo on passenger flights has to be properly configured before the plane can take-off – if cargo and vehicles are in the wrong place because of the strike this is going to have adverse knock-on effects.
The action will also affect imports and exports of perishable produce including fruit and flowers. Both parties are continuing negotiations
So will your holiday insurance cover any disruption? It depends. Most insurance policies cover £60 to £100, but to get compensated to this amount the passenger would have to be delayed by over 30 hours at least. Some policies offer about £20 after eight hours of delay.
Insurance compensation for “abandonment” – which is when you decide not to take the trip at all – might pay more. A spokesman for Travelsupermarket.com says there are policies that will pay up to £1,000 in the event of an “abandoned” holiday. Nevertheless passengers would have to be delayed by at least 24 hours to be able to claim.
Usually, if flights are delayed, passengers trying to fly home from overseas are put up in a hotel if the delay is long enough, and/or offered payment or paid-for meals, organised by the airline, but for Britons trying to get out to their timeshare resorts, for example, from their home base, this situation would not apply.
Heathrow was affected by another strike in May, this time by UK Border Control staff, resulting in non-EU queues at immigration taking an hour and three-quarters to clear, in some cases, with Terminal 3 the worst affected.