British Airways fires worker for major walkout

British Airways confirmed Thursday it had fired a worker for orchestrating a walkout that grounded hundreds of flights at Heathrow Airport this summer.

BA said the employee had been "found guilty of gross misconduct for playing a leading role in the walkout."

A second employee, also found guilty of gross misconduct, was given a written warning, suspended without pay for a month and banned from staff air travel privileges.

Disciplinary proceedings continue for a third employee. All three workers, who were not identified by name, are shop stewards for the Transport and General Workers' Union.

Its general secretary, Tony Woodley, said the union was "surprised and disappointed with these decisions."

BA said the employees had the right to appeal.

The dispute began when U.S.-owned catering company Gate Gourmet fired more than 660 employees for staging an unauthorized walkout over working conditions in August. Hundreds of British Airways baggage handlers, loaders and bus drivers at Heathrow walked out in sympathy, leading the airline to cancel hundreds of flights, stranding more than 100,000 travelers, the AP reports.


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