Heathrow release statement on summer strike action

Heathrow Airport has released a statement regarding the possibility of industrial action by airport staff over the summer holiday period.

Unite the union announced strikes it said “could potentially shut down the airport” scheduled for July 26 and 27, and August 5, 6, 23 and 24, after workers backed the strike action in a series of ballots.

“We are disappointed that Unite will be taking strike action,” a Heathrow spokesperson said. “We are proud of our record as a good employer and we remain committed to finding a solution.

“We have proposed a progressive pay package giving at least a 4.6 percent pay rise to over 70 percent of our frontline colleagues. The total package offered is above RPI and is specifically designed to boost the wages of lower paid colleagues.”

Unite say Heathrow have not done enough to address the gap between the lowest paid workers and the chief executive office John Holland-Kaye, whose pay rose from £2.097 million in 2017 to £4.2 million in 2018.

Unite represents over 4,000 workers at the airport, who rejected an 18 month pay offer amounting to just £3.75 extra per day for the lowest paid amongst them.

“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.

“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.

“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.”