Following the chancellor’s announcement yesterday (Thursday 24 September) of the creation of the Job Support Scheme, Unite, the UK’s leading aviation union, is calling on Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) to halt its ‘brutal’ plans to fire and re-hire thousands of workers.

Fire and re-hire 

Earlier this month HAL issued a section 188 notice beginning a process which could result in over 4,000 workers directly employed by the airport being fired and then rehired on vastly inferior contracts.

The workers, including security officers, engineers and firefighters, face losing over £8,000 per annum and up to 24 per cent of their incomes. Many workers fear that they will be forced to sell their homes and cars or move to cheaper areas.


HAL, which boasted that it had the resources to make it through the pandemic and whose chief executive was paid £2.6 million in pay and pensions last year, says that the cuts to the wages of workers will be of a permanent rather than a temporary nature.

Unite has put forward its own proposals of how money can be saved at the airport without swingeing permanent cuts to workers’ pay.

Moral duty

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “Heathrow airport has a moral duty to halt its plans to fire and rehire thousands of loyal and dedicated workers.

 “With the announcement of the chancellor’s job support scheme, the cliff edge of the ending of the job retention scheme has been avoided.

 “The section 188 notices should be immediately withdrawn.

 “If HAL presses ahead with its brutal proposals then it will demonstrate that management is using the Covid-19 pandemic as cover to achieve long-held ambitions to force workers onto inferior contracts.  

"Highly paid senior management are forcing workers to pay for this pandemic, impoverishing families and the surrounding communities.

"Our fear is that these moves are all about greed not need.

 “The ball is now firmly in Heathrow’s court and their actions in the coming days will speak volumes.”


Notes to editors:

 Unite says Heathrow airport plans to fire and rehire workers further undermines a vulnerable industry

 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.