Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cailey Rizzo
January 10, 2017

British Airways is assuring its customers that despite a large union strike, flights will continue to operate as normal.

The 48-hour strike, lasting all of Tuesday and Wednesday, will only affect a “small number” of British Airways flights to and from London Heathrow, according to the airline. About 40 flights will be affected over the two day period.

“As part of our contingency plan, we will be merging a very small number of flights to and from Heathrow,” the airline said in a statement. “This will mean some customers will travel slightly earlier or later in the day than their original booking.”

All customers whose flights are affected by the strike have already been contacted, the airline said. Passengers who are traveling on either strike day can check their reservations to ensure that nothing has changed.

All flights to and from London Gatwick and London City airports will operate as normal.

Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, is organizing the strike over a pay dispute. The union—which represents 15 percent of British Airways cabin crew—claims that “mixed fleet” employees are paid less than other British Airways employees.

“This is a low paid workforce struggling to make ends meet on wages which are among the lowest in the airline industry,” the union said in a statement. According to the union, British Airways union employees are “forced to take second jobs to make ends meet or turn up to work unfit to fly because they can’t afford to take the day off sick.”

In response to accusations, British Airways replied, “We urge Unite to abandon its strike action which is serving only to cause anxiety among our Mixed Fleet cabin crew colleagues who do a tremendous job for our customers.”

The strike was rescheduled from Christmas Day and Boxing Day when the union and airline began talks. After multiple meetings and no reconciliation, Unite announced last week that they would stage a 48-hour strike.

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