Summer travel chaos at Heathrow Airport is looming large Unite warned today (July 12) after workers across the airport’s five terminals announced a series of strikes in a dispute over pay.
Over 4,000 workers, including security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers, are set to walk out on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July27 , Monday August 5 and Tuesday, August 6, and Friday , August 23 and Saturday August 24, in a move that could potentially shut down the airport.
It comes after the workers backed strike action in eight separate strike ballots. The planned strikes follow the rejection of an 18 month pay offer amounting to 2.7 per cent, which according to Unite amounts to just £3.75 extra a day for the lowest paid workers involved in the dispute.
The action comes amid deepening anger over pay disparities between workers doing the same job at the airport and the ‘massive’ pay package of Heathrow Airport’s chief executive officer John Holland-Kaye. Last year the Heathrow boss received a 103.2 per cent pay increase with his basic remuneration package rising from £2.097m in 2017 to £4.2m in 2018.
Unite represents over 4,000 Heathrow Airport workers who are involved in the pay dispute.
“There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport,” said Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King.
“They are fed up of being expected to accept crumbs while the chief executive pockets an eye popping 103 per cent rise in his pay package and shareholders are handed dividends of over £2 billion in the last two years alone,” he added.
“To add insult to injury there are widening pay disparities leading to airport security guards employed after 2014 earning up to £6,000 less than colleagues hired before that date.
“Unite members ensured over 80 million passengers passed safely through Heathrow in the last 12 months and contributed massively to the airport’s huge profits last year,” King went on to say. “Unite and our members support Heathrow expansion and are working hard to deliver it, but we will not allow Heathrow bosses to get away with low pay.
“All our members are seeking is a pay deal that recognises their important role in keeping passengers safe and on the move, in addition to a commitment by Heathrow bosses to close pay disparities which are leading to a high turnover of staff.
“Bosses at Heathrow Airport need to get their heads out of the sand and start negotiating meaningfully over pay. Otherwise there will be significant disruption to flights to and from Heathrow and the potential closure of the airport over the summer months because of industrial action