Check-in staff at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester Airport have voted in favour of taking industrial action on 23 and 24 December by a majority of 83 per cent.
The bone of contention is one of money: the workers in question are annoyed at a "divisive" pay arrangement which is the brainchild of dnata, the Middle Eastern air travel service provider.
Airport and airline bosses are playing down the risk of considerable inconvenience: Heathrow says it has a contingency system in order to "minimize disruption for passengers"; it says also it does not want to "raise an unnecessary alarm."
Dnata’s main clients include Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Turkish Airlines, and Qantas Airways. The union said the strike is a protest against an imposed 2.2-per-cent pay increase (supervisors were being granted a rise of 4.5 per cent).
It stated, furthermore, the walkout "would have an impact" on air travellers, regardless of how well or poorly the airports cope.