Over 1,400 security guards employed by Heathrow Airport at Terminal Five are set to go on strike for ten days in a dispute over pay, according to the Unite union. The strike will take place during the school Easter holidays, causing disruptions for travelers.
The strike will involve workers at T5, which is primarily used by British Airways, and those responsible for checking cargo entering the airport. Heathrow has stated that it will implement contingency plans to ensure that the airport remains open during the strike.
In a statement, Heathrow has reassured passengers that the airport will be “open and operational” despite the “unnecessary threats of strike action by Unite”.
The company has announced its proposal of a 10% pay increase that beats inflation. However, Unite has expressed its dissatisfaction with the offer, stating that it does not compensate for the years of pay cuts and freezes.
Unite union secretary general Sharon Graham has highlighted that Heathrow Airport workers are currently receiving “poverty wages” while the top executives enjoy significant salaries. She has emphasized that the low wages have made it difficult for Unite members to make ends meet, and the strike is a result of necessity rather than greed.
The Unite boss has stressed that the airport’s workers are crucial to its success and deserve a fair pay increase. The strike is expected to require Heathrow to redirect resources from other areas of the airport to Terminal 5.
The airport has stated that the wage proposal currently on offer is fair, and has criticized the potential strike action, stating that it will not improve the deal.
The airport has confirmed that its staff at Heathrow are paid at least the London Living Wage, and that the starting salary for a security officer would be £27,754, plus shift pay and allowances, if the 10% offer is accepted.
This announcement comes as over 1,000 Passport Office workers have announced their intention to strike for five weeks over a dispute regarding jobs, pay, and conditions.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union working across England, Scotland, and Wales will walk out from 3 April to 5 May, while those working in Belfast will strike from 7 April to 5 May.
The union has warned of potential delays to applications and passport deliveries in the lead-up to summer.
The Home Office expressed its disappointment with the union’s resolution. A representative stated that the government is taking measures to mitigate the consequences of the industrial action, “while guaranteeing that we can still provide essential services to the public, with extensive contingency plans in place.”
Furthermore, the Home Office clarified that the strike does not influence its advice, which remains to permit up to 10 weeks for passport processing, with arrangements already in progress to meet the demand.