*****UPDATE: The strike action has now been cancelled, with a spokesperson for Aviation Fuel Services Ltd stating:

“We are pleased to confirm that the planned industrial action involving AFS from 4-7 May has now been cancelled and normal service will go ahead.”*****

The Unite union has warned flights could be disrupted at Heathrow next month, with refuelling workers set to take strike action.

A total of 50 refuellers working for AFS are set to walk out for 72 hours beginning on 4 May, “after their employer imposed drastic cuts to the terms and conditions of new staff recruited since January 2024”.

Unite said the industrial action could see aircraft “delayed, disrupted and grounded due to their inability to be refuelled”.

The strike will affect the following 35 airlines at Heathrow – British Airways, which operates around half of flights at the airport, is not included in the list.

Air Canada, American Airlines, United, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Japan Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, EL AL, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Air France, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, JetBlue, LOT Polish, Royal Air Maroc, Middle East Airlines, SAS, TAP Air Portugal, KM Malta Airlines, DHL, Aeromexico, LATAM, Air India, Loganair, Bulgaria Air, Uzbekistan Airways, China Airlines, Air Mauritius, Turkmenistan Airlines, Avianca, Asiana, Saudia, Tianjin Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines and RwandAir

Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham referred to AFS’ actions as “bully-boy tactics”, while regional officer Kevin Hall commented:

“Our members recognise that if they allow this attack on their conditions to take place, before long this will become the norm.

“Unite won’t allow that to happen and is standing firm with our members on the picket line.

“AFS will have to answer directly to the airlines and passengers for the disruption caused by their unmerited actions.”

Heathrow Airport said that it was working with AFS “to support their robust contingency plans for the airlines they provide fuel to”, adding that the firm is “one of a number of suppliers at the airport and the majority of flights are supported by other providers”.