New Unite research has revealed that security officers at Heathrow are being paid £6,000 per year less than their counterparts at other London airports. This more than justifies the Heathrow workers’ strike action - Heathrow is the poverty pay citadel of London airports.  

Huge pay disparity

Unite’s analysis shows that security officers at Stansted and Gatwick airports are paid between £5,000 - £6,000 more than Heathrow, while workers at the much smaller Luton airport are still paid over £500 more. Heathrow security officers receive basic pay of £26,000, which is boosted by a £4,000 shift allowance.

Indefensible pay

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Heathrow prides itself on being the UK’s premium airport – it is bigger and handles more flights and cargo than any other. So it is frankly indefensible that security officer pay is far lower than other London airports. Imagine, the so-called ‘best in Britain’ is actually a citadel for poverty pay. How can this be justified?"

Unite research has also established that since 2017, the average remuneration for Heathrow employees has fallen by 24 per cent in real terms. The declining pay for all Heathrow employees and the abject low pay for its security officers is in stark contrast to the remuneration of its chief executive John Holland-Kaye. Between 2020 and 2021, his pay soared from £800,000 to £1.5 million - up 88 per cent.

Last minute talks failed

Strikes planned to begin this Thursday (4 May) at Heathrow airport involving security officers will go ahead as planned, after last minute talks at the conciliation service, Acas, broke down.

The 1,400 security officers, who are based at Heathrow’s terminal 5 and in campus security (responsible for searching all personnel and vehicles entering the Heathrow campus), will be striking on 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 May and then again on 25, 26, 27 May.

The initial strike action during the Easter holiday period led to hundreds of flights being cancelled.

Heathrow given every opportunity 

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “Unite has given Heathrow Airport every opportunity to make an improved pay offer, which could have led to the strike action being suspended. Sadly, they refused to grasp the opportunity to make an offer which could meet members’ expectations.”


Notes to editors:

The principal picket line will be:

Where: The roundabout on Nene Road, TW6 2AU

When: 08:00 until 16:00.

Heathrow set for May mayhem as security officers plan fresh strikes whilst employers remain tin eared 

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.