Unite, the principal aviation union, has accused Heathrow Airport of “brutally ditching” 500 workers employed as ambassadors at the airport.


Heathrow Airport ditches workers


The ambassadors were employed by ABM on a contract entirely funded by Heathrow Airport and the entire workforce will now be made redundant.


The 500-strong workforce was employed across all of Heathrow’s five terminals and were responsible for assisting passengers complete security and passport control on departure, and also assisted arrivals with clearing passport control, collecting baggage and accessing connecting flights, ensuring that passengers are not lost.


Extra duties


Many of the ambassadors have continued to work throughout the pandemic taking on 15 extra tasks over and above their normal roles.


The loss of 500 jobs is another harsh blow to the local economy. Hounslow council earlier this month warned that a third of the 100,000 households in the borough could be affected by job losses at the airport and the local economy could contract by 40 per cent.


Loyal workforce


Unite regional officer Balvinder Bir said: “Heathrow airport has brutally ditched a loyal and dedicated group of workers who have been undertaking additional work since the pandemic began.


“The ambassadors at Heathrow provided a premium service in assisting passengers to access and leave the airport.


“Their removal will severely detract from customers’ positive experience at the airport in future.


“This is the latest group of workers to have fallen victim to the government’s failure to bring forward specific support to the aviation industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unless specific support is finally forthcoming thousands more jobs are at risk.


“If Heathrow wants to maintain its position as a key hub airport in Europe then it needs to urgently review this decision.


“Unite will ensure that all affected members are fully consulted and receive everything that they are entitled to.”


Vital for economy


Research commissioned by Unite has found that Heathrow generates £9.7 billion for the economy and supports a total of 190,000 jobs. In total 40 per cent of the local population is reliant on the aviation sector for their livelihood.


Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring stringent environmental standards to be adopted to radically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.




Notes to editors:


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.


Email: [email protected]


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