Heathrow airport strikes 2023: Unite announces further 8 days of strike action next month over pay

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Security officers at Heathrow airport are set to walk out for a further eight days over a pay dispute, Unite has announced.

Security officers at Heathrow Airport will take a further eight days of strike action in May following a dispute over pay, Unite has announced. This is in addition to their recently-concluded industrial action that lasted for 10 days at the start of the Easter holiday period on March 31.

The industrial action was triggered after last-minute negotiations to settle a pay dispute fell through. The walkout involved about 1,400 Unite union members who work for Heathrow Airports Ltd. And now, they will take industrial action on May 4, 5, 6, 9 and then again on 25, 26, 27.

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Security personnel at Terminal Five, which is only utilised by British Airways, as well as campus security guards who are in charge of inspecting all cargo arriving at the airport were also affected by the strikes, with the latest move is set to cause further disruption.

The strike saw British Airways cancelling about 5% of its flights or more than 300 flights and ceased selling tickets for strike days. The airline said the cancellations were for short-haul flights on high-frequency routes and that passengers who were most affected would fly within 24 hours of their original booking.

In a statement released on Wednesday (April 19), Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Yet again, we have a chief executive in John Holland-Kaye who thinks it is acceptable to boost his earnings by an eye watering 88 per cent, from £800,000 to a staggering £1.5 million, while he denies his own workers a decent pay rise.

“This dispute is bound to escalate with more workers being balloted and disruption set to continue throughout the summer.”

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Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “Strikes next month will cause further disruption to airport passengers but this dispute is a direct result of Heathrow’s stubborn refusal to make an offer that meets our members’ expectations.

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“Our members have been crystal clear they are seeking a substantial permanent increase in pay. A small one off lump sum payment will not alleviate the financial pressures our members are facing on a daily basis.

Security officers at Heathrow airport are set to walk out for a further eight days over a pay dispute in May, Unite has announced.   Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesSecurity officers at Heathrow airport are set to walk out for a further eight days over a pay dispute in May, Unite has announced.   Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Security officers at Heathrow airport are set to walk out for a further eight days over a pay dispute in May, Unite has announced. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Bloomberg via Getty Images

“While the CEO can enjoy a lavish millionaire’s lifestyle, our members struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. This is about need not greed.”

Earlier this month, Unite warned that the low pay was likely to create an exodus of security staff from the airport. A survey of security officers undertaken by Unite revealed that more than one in three (35 per cent) were planning to leave their roles.

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