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Christmas strike looms at UK’s largest airport after w...

Christmas strike looms at UK’s largest airport after workers cheated out of holiday pay

20 September 2017

About 4,000 workers at Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL), members of Unite, the country’s largest union, have overwhelmingly rejected the company’s holiday pay offer and imposed cuts to terms and conditions in a consultative ballot.

Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) has today (20 September) been told of the union’s intention to proceed to a full industrial action ballot of the entire membership, unless the company rows back on its bullying bid to cheat staff out of holiday pay, imposed cuts to early start payments (ESP) and the threat to remove members from the ‘Share in Success’ scheme for taking part in lawful industrial action.

Members are angry at being cheated out of holiday pay, to which they’re legally entitled, as a result of the company’s refusal to implement a fair method for calculating overtime and other variable pay in their holiday pay calculations.

Accusing Heathrow of ‘making every worker poorer’, Unite has warned that a strike by HAL’s security staff, firefighters, airfield operators and engineers will cause travel chaos for passengers over the busy Christmas period, and with 139,000 tons of cargo passing through Heathrow in August alone, businesses will also be severely affected.

The industrial action ballot of Unite members, who voted by a 94 per cent majority to reject the company’s offer in the consultative ballot, opens on Wednesday 27 September and closes around Wednesday 18 October.

Unite regional coordinating officer, Wayne King said: “HAL needs to sit up and take notice. Instead of ‘making every journey better’, Heathrow is ‘making every worker poorer’ in its bullying bid to cheat staff out of their full holiday pay, and cuts to long standing terms and conditions.

“We are deeply disappointed that, despite many months of trying to settle this dispute, including at the conciliation service, Acas, HAL has flatly rejected several of the union’s reasonable proposals. This has left us with no option, but to proceed to a full industrial action ballot now.

“With over 94 per cent voting to reject, our members have sent a very clear message that they will not be bullied into accepting a shoddy offer that leaves them out of pocket. They work in safety critical roles, without them, air and groundside operations will grind to a halt.

“We would urge HAL to get back around the table to reach a genuinely negotiated settlement on all of the issues. Otherwise major disruption is on the cards during the hectic Christmas period when hundreds of thousands of people will be getting away for sun and skiing as well as visiting family and friends. And with 139,000 tons of cargo passing through Heathrow in August alone, businesses will also be severely affected.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Unite campaigns officer, Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777.

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  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey