London Heathrow airport has assured passengers not to worry about upcoming half-term strike action by security officers, stating that “no flights” will be cancelled as a result.
The airport said it remained confident of its ability to handle this weeks walk-outs, having delivered “excellent passenger service throughout the previous strike periods,” with most passengers waiting less than 5 minutes to pass through security.
The UK and London’s largest airport has been locked in an ongoing pay dispute with members of the Unite Union.
1,400 security officers are currently set to walkout between 25 to 27 May, following the collapse of last ditch talks earlier in the month.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Passengers should not be concerned about strike action by Unite over the half term getaway.”
“The 15 days of strike action over the Easter peak and Coronation weekends have had no impact on the smooth running of the airport, and passengers have not noticed any difference from the normal great service they expect at Heathrow.”
The airport also urged Unite to put its current pay offer of a 10 per cent pay increase and £1,150 lump sum to its members. “We know the majority of colleagues want to accept this offer, but trade unions have refused to allow their members to vote on it.”
“We want to give all our colleagues a hard-earned pay rise. We urge trade unions to listen to their members and ballot on the deal.”
Holland-Kaye added: “These strikes are completely unnecessary. When I speak to colleagues the overwhelming message is that they just want to vote on our pay offer, but Unite won’t let them. We made a generous 10 per cent offer early on, to make sure colleagues got a substantial increase when they needed it most.”
Yesterday, Unite slammed Heathrow for expected dividend payments to its shareholders of £1.5bn, announced in a report by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in March.
General secretary Sharon Graham said that the report “confounds HAL’s claims that there is not enough money to give its lowest paid workers a decent pay rise. The company knows it needs to do the right thing and pay our members a fair pay increase.”
Unite’s regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King, added: “There is absolutely no justification for security officers at Heathrow being paid far less than comparable officers at other London airports.”
A year ago, the Heathrow was gripped by disruption, with passengers suffering long queues and last-minute cancellations blamed on staff shortages.