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Updated: American Airlines Workers At London Heathrow Call Off Strike

The strike by more than 50 American Airlines workers in London Heathrow has been called off.

by Fergus Cole

October 6, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of American Airlines

Ninety-eight percent of American Airlines‘ aircraft engineers at London Heathrow International Airport had voted to go on strike over pay cuts, threatening to disrupt the airline’s routes in and out of the UK.

The strike was called off on October 11 after an improved offer was secured, reaching a three-year pay deal worth 19 percent.

As noted by the union, the workers’ pay will increase by seven percent in 2022, six percent in 2023, and an additional six percent in 2024.

American Airlines had proposed a three-year pay cut for its maintenance technicians and crew chiefs working at London Heathrow (LHR), the airline’s largest international connecting hub.

Under the proposals, technicians and crew chiefs had been offered 5.3 and 3.8 percent pay raises, respectively, plus a lump sum payment in the second year and a price freeze in the third. However, the British trade union Unite, which represents the affected workers, claims the proposals amount to a wage drop after accounting for 12.3 percent inflation in the UK.

The strike announcement came after American Airlines reported strong post-pandemic growth, with the airline posting record revenues of $13.4 billion in the second quarter of 2022.

Sharon Graham, General Secretary of the trade union Unite, said, “Amid a cost-of-living emergency, American Airlines is proposing that our members accept a three-year pay cut. That is simply unacceptable.”

“As the strength of the vote shows, our members are rock solid and ready to strike for a fair deal. American Airlines has boasted of its strong growth and post-pandemic rebound so let’s see that translate into a better deal for the workforce. Our American Airlines members have Unite’s total support during these strikes.”

More than fifty workers responsible for maintaining American Airlines’ aircraft took action over the dispute after voting overwhelmingly in favor of a strike.

The degree to which the strike would disrupt American Airlines’ transatlantic flight schedule was substantial, with 23 daily departures from London Heathrow in danger of being canceled.

American Airlines is not the only U.S. carrier threatened with transatlantic route disruptions. Around 300 Unite members employed at Heathrow by United Airlines are also voting over strike action, with their respective ballot closing on October 11.