Last-ditch talks on Heathrow pay strikes could avert flight chaos during Easter holidays
- Wednesday 29 March 2023
Heathrow agrees new talks Thursday with Unite, after previous refusal to negotiate further
Recent union research means workers’ expectations of an increased deal heightened
Over 1,400 security officers, employed by Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) and who are members of Unite, are due to take strike action over poverty pay.
The potential strike action involves security officers 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.
The 10 days of strike action is set to begin this Friday 31 March, with the final day of strike action on Sunday 9 April (Easter Sunday).
Flights using Heathrow Airport will experience severe delays and disruption this Easter if the last-ditch talks do not avert the strike.
Unite research has established a pattern of billion-strong shareholder payouts and massive pay hikes for executives, all combined with real terms wage cuts for Heathrow workers.
In the three years before the pandemic, HAL paid out £2.1 billion in dividends to shareholders in Spain and Qatar, who control HAL’s ultimate parent company. Since 2017 the average remuneration for Heathrow workers has fallen by 24 per cent.
The latest HAL accounts show that between 2020 and 2021 the remuneration of the chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, soared from £800,000 to £1.5 million - up an astonishing 88 per cent.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The offer of new talks is to be welcomed. But Heathrow’s executives have to realise that the genie is out the bottle. Workers can’t be expected to accept real term pay cuts as shareholders and bosses get richer and richer. So, if the strike is to be averted there needs to be more real money put on the table to make a decent pay rise."
Talks are due to take place tomorrow morning at Heathrow Airport’s headquarters.
Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “Unite is entering into the talks in good faith but HAL needs to be aware that unless it is prepared to improve the pay offer to our members then there is no chance of the strike beginning Friday being postponed.”
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
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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.