More than 3,000 Heathrow staff threaten Easter strike

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By Linsey McNeill
Home » More than 3,000 Heathrow staff threaten Easter strike

Heathrow security guards, engineers and firefighters are being balloted on strike action, which could hit the Easter holidays.

The 3,000 members of Unite union have rejected a 10% pay increase, arguing this is below the current rate of inflation, which stands at 13.4%.

Unite claims that its members were fired and rehired by Heathrow during the pandemic, during which its Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye saw his pay rise from £700,000 to £1.5m.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Heathrow Airport is guilty of gross hypocrisy, it is paying telephone number salaries to its chief executive and senior managers, but the workers who make the company a success are on poverty wages.

 “Unite never takes a backward step when fighting for its members’, jobs, pay and conditions and our members at Heathrow Airport will receive the union’s complete support.”

The strike ballot opens this Friday and ends on Friday 17 March. If members vote in favour of industrial action, the earlies it could begin would be 31 March, a week before the Easter weekend, because the union is required to give the airport at least two weeks’ notice of a strike.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “If our members at HAL take strike action it will inevitably cause severe disruption throughout Heathrow with delays, disruption and cancellations of flights inevitable.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said HAL was ‘extremely disappointed’ that Unite is tabling a motion for industrial action, saying it ‘unnecessarily escalates matters’.

“Since last November, discussions with our unions have resulted in an offer of a 10% increase on salary, shift pay and allowances this year on top of a 4% increase six months ago – this is despite Heathrow remaining loss-making and with significant uncertainties facing our industry, including the spectre of COVID travel restrictions which we have already seen re-introduced just this year,” added the spokesperson.

Heathrow warned that the pay offer will be withdrawn if strikes go ahead.

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