Chaos at Heathrow is likely to occur during the Easter period as more than 3,000 airport workers are threatening to strike over pay.
1. Strike over pay
The workers, who are members of the Unite union, will vote on the potential strike on Friday, 17 February, with the ballot ending on March 17. If the strike goes ahead, it would coincide with the Easter holidays, causing great disruption at the London hub. The revolt comes after staff rejected a 10% pay offer, which, according to Unite is “in effect a pay cut”, with the real rate of inflation currently standing at 13.4%. Workers set to be balloted on strike action include security guards, engineers and firefighters.
Heathrow 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 .Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary
A Heathrow spokesperson said that the airport was “extremely disappointed” that Unite is tabling a formal ballot for industrial action. In the meantime, the airport said it will consider how to implement contingency plans should formal strike action go ahead, while the focus remains on discussions with the union, trying to appease workers.
This isn’t about what our members want, this is about what they need for them and their families. This is about need not greed.Wayne King, Unite Regional Co-ordinating Officer
“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 6 months ago – this is despite Heathrow remaining loss-making and with significant uncertainties facing our business, including the spectre of Covid-19 travel restrictions which we have already seen re-introduced just this year,” the airport spokesperson said.
All employees were also given a one-off £2,000 cost of living payment and received additional work benefits such as free hot meals over the winter, as per Travel Weekly.
The Heathrow representative further threatened with entirely withdrawing the 10% raise if the strike goes ahead.
“This isn’t about what our members want, this is about what they need for them and their families. This is about need not greed,” said Unite Regional Co-ordinating Officer Wayne King.