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Bah humbug! Thousands of passengers face Christmas getaway chaos at Heathrow Airport after ground staff voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay.

The two-day strike involving almost 500 members of ground handling company Dnata will take place on December 23 and Christmas Eve. Heathrow will bear the brunt of the industrial action as most of the staff are based there, but Gatwick and Manchester airports will also be affected if the strike goes ahead.

Members of the Unite union were in hard-hearted mood as 83 per cent of them voted in favour of the strike action. But union bosses are pointing the finger at Scrooge-like bosses over a "divisive" pay offer.

Unite says the offer, which sees supervisors get 4.5 per cent - double the 2.25 per cent for other staff - would create a workforce of the "haves and have-nots".

Now Unite is urging Dnata to enter into talks with the conciliation service Acas in order to avert the strike.

Dnata staff carry out check-in, ground crew and cargo-handling duties. Its customers include Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Iran Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airways, New Zealand Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, US Airways, Eva Air, Qantas Airways and Oman Airways.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: "Strike action is very much a last resort and our members are mindful of the potential disruption it could cause. But they feel frustrated with an employer that has refused point blank to go to Acas and negotiate in a sensible manner."

We hope that, whatever happens, your Christmas plans aren't affected!


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Heathrow strike heralds Christmas getaway chaos
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