Heathrow Airport workers plan four-day strike next month

17 November 2020 (Last Updated November 17th, 2020 11:27)

Workers at Heathrow Airport have planned a four-day strike next month to protest against actions that cut their wages.

Heathrow Airport workers plan four-day strike next month
View across the central area of London Heathrow Terminal 2. Credit: Orderinchaos.

Workers at Heathrow Airport have planned a four-day strike next month to protest against actions that cut their wages.

According to the Unite union, the strike action is organised to protest against the airport’s plans to fire and rehire staff that will significantly reduce their pay.

The trade union claimed that the airport authority has asked around 4,000 workers to sign new contracts, which will cut wages for some workers by up to £8,000 per annum, despite having enough cash reserves to survive the downturn.

The other options provided by the airport are voluntary severance, termination, or phased buy down of the new contract.

Earlier in September, Heathrow warned that it plans to cut worker wages by up to 20% to reduce costs as the Covid-19 pandemic hammered travel demand.

Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “Workers are taking strike action as a direct result of Heathrow Airport’s brutal proposals to fire and rehire them on greatly reduced wages.

“The airport is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to permanently cut workers’ pay.

“Unite has put forward several alternative suggestions to reduce staffing costs on a temporary basis, all of which have been summarily rejected by management.”

The first 24-hour strike action is planned on 1 December, when the new contracts take effect, followed by 14 December, and a 48-hour period on 17 and 18 December.

Firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, operational and airside workers are expected to participate in the strike, which will virtually shut down operations at the airport.

However, Heathrow Airport said that operations will continue despite the strikes.

Earlier this year, Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in France displaced Heathrow as the busiest airport in Europe.