Heathrow workers to strike next week

Workers at Heathrow Airport are planning to strike on Tuesday over proposed pay cuts, the airport said today.

Unite the union is also preparing for further industrial action on 14, 17, and 18 December.

Heathrow said that there are currently no pre-planned flight schedule amendments for any of the dates.

As the UK will still be under lockdown on 1 December, no disruption to passenger journeys is expected, it added.

Unite workers are striking over claims that the airport is seeking to fire and rehire its 4,000 workers on vastly reduced pay.

Organisers say that Heathrow is is trying to force workers to accept permanent pay cuts of up to £8,000 per year, a quarter of their total pay. 

Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “Workers are taking strike action as a direct result of Heathrow Airport’s brutal proposals to fire and rehire them on greatly reduced wages.

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“The airport is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to permanently cut workers’ pay.”

Under the proposals, less than three per cent of Heathrow workers will have their pay reduced by more than 20 per cent and less than one per cent of staff will have their pay reduced by a quarter.

So far, 4,263 of 4,642 frontline staff (92 per cent) have already accepted the proposals.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “It’s very disappointing that Unite has decided to take strike action during the worst crisis to hit the aviation sector.

“Our focus has been to protect jobs – which is why we’ve offered every frontline colleague who wants one a job at a market rate salary above the London Living Wage, even despite a loss of over £1.5bn to our business so far this year.

“We do not believe this strike action is necessary, but have activated extensive contingency plans which will keep the airport open and operating safely throughout this period.”