Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, has received notification that an application to represent a bargaining unit for American Airlines’ technicians employed at Heathrow Airport has been accepted.
A panel from the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) granted Unite the legal capability to bargain on behalf of ‘all aircraft maintenance technicians employed at Heathrow airport’.
A bargaining unit sees a trade union represent a group of workers in negotiations with an employer.
American Airlines was deemed to have been treating aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) as a separate bargaining unit since at least 2010, which led the CAC representatives to judge that the application to represent them was in line with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. This means that the 42 workers within the unit at Heathrow Airport will now receive legal representation from Unite.
American Airlines is the largest airline in the world with more than 6,700 flights daily to 336 locations in 50 countries worldwide. Its AMTs working out of America are represented by a bargaining unit, but it was opposed to AMTs at Heathrow Airport having the same representation.
Howard Beckett, director of Unite Legal Services, said: “We are delighted that the panel has ruled in our favour so that American Airlines’ AMTs, who play a critical role in aircraft safety, will be fairly represented.
“As the country’s largest trade union, we have a wealth of experience in the civil air transport sector and use our influence to safeguard working conditions and job security for our members. Having representation from Unite, the bargaining unit will also benefit from our extensive knowledge of employment law, ensuring that they are getting a fair deal in pay and management issues.
“No matter how large a corporation, the livelihood of workers should be made a priority for employers, and here at Unite we strive to protect the legal rights that all UK workers are entitled to.”