Flights using Heathrow Airport will experience severe delays and disruption this Easter as workers take extensive strike action in a dispute over pay.

Over 1,400 security guards employed by Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) and who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have voted for strike action.

Ten days of strikes

The 10 days of strike action will begin on Friday 31 March with the final day of strike action on Sunday 9 April (Easter Sunday).

The strike action involves the security guards employed at Terminal Five which is used exclusively by British Airways and Campus security guards who are responsible for checking all cargo that enters the airport.

Poverty wages

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers at Heathrow Airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries. It is the airport’s workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair pay increase.

“Our members are simply unable to make ends meet due to the low wages paid by Heathrow. They are being forced to take strike action due to need not greed.”

“Unite has a laser like focus on prioritising the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and HAL needs to be in no doubt that the workers at the airport will receive the union’s unstinting support.”

Real terms pay cut

The strike is a result of HAL only offering the workers a 10 per cent pay increase following years of pay freezes and pay cuts. The current offer is in reality a real terms pay cut with the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 13.4 per cent.

Workers are reporting that due to a combination of low pay and the cost of living crisis they are unable to make ends meet. A security guard at the airport is paid as little as £24,000 a year.

Brutal attacks

The brutal attacks on pay and conditions by HAL in 2020 have left its employees even more exposed to the impacts of the cost of living crisis. During the pandemic HAL fired and rehired its entire workforce.

HAL’s treatment of its workers is in marked contrast to the treatment of senior management who suffered a temporary pay cut during the pandemic, which has now been restored. HAL’s chief executive John Holland Kaye saw his salary increase from £700,000 to £1.5 million in 2021.

Huge disruption

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “Strike action will cause huge disruption and delays at Heathrow throughout Easter but this dispute is entirely of HAL’s own making it has had every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but has failed to do so.”


Notes to editors

Heathrow braced for Easter flight chaos as workers ballot for strikes in pay dispute

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

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.