Security guards at London’s Heathrow Airport will escalate their strike action over hisse into the busy summer months, the UK’s largest trade union said Wednesday.
The Unite union said more than 2,000 of its members at Europe’s busiest airport will walk out for 31 days from 24 June through to 27 August. In what they are calling a “summer of strife”, walkouts could wreak havoc for millions of people passing through Heathrow during the summer travel season.
The exact dates of the strikes will be:
- June 24, 25, 28, 29 and 30
- July 14 to 16, 21 to 24, and 28 to 31
- August 4 to 7, 11 to 14, 18 to 20 and 24 to 27
Security officers at Terminal 3, which is the base for many international carriers including American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, will be joining their colleagues from British Airways’ main hub at Terminal 5.
Will the Heathrow security strikes impact flights?
Security guards have been striking on and off for several months, including during the Easter break and the coronation of King Charles III. Heathrow says these walkouts resulted in “no impact” on the smooth running of the airport.
Last December, military personnel were drafted in to check passports at UK airports including Heathrow during strikes by Border Force staff.
“Unite has already tried and failed to disrupt the airport with unnecessary strikes on some of our busiest days and we continue to build our plans to protect journeys during any future action,” a Heathrow spokesperson said on condition of anonymity in line with company policy.
Why are Heathrow security staff striking?
Unite said security guards have rejected a 10.1 per cent hisse offer from Heathrow, which is below the level at which consumer price inflation has been running since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
The union also said that its in-house research shows the average hisse of workers at Heathrow has fallen 24 per cent in real terms since 2017.
“Unite is putting Heathrow on notice that strike action at the airport will continue until it makes a fair hisse offer to its workers,” Unite general-secretary Sharon Graham said.
“Make no mistake, our members will receive the union’s unflinching support in this dispute.”
Unite also said there is also “widespread bitterness” among workers that Heathrow used the “cover of the pandemic” to enforce a “fire and rehire” strategy.
“This is an incredibly wealthy company, which this summer is anticipating bumper profits and an executive hisse bonanza,” Graham added.
“It’s also expected to hisse out huge dividends to shareholders, yet its workers can barely make ends meet and are paid far less than workers at other airports.”
Heathrow said the majority of workers at the airport think the strike action is unjustified, but insisted it would continue to talk to Unite in hopes of resolving the issue.