Heathrow workers announce fresh strikes over pay and conditions dispute

There will be further industrial action at Heathrow. Credit: PA

Workers at Heathrow Airport will launch a fresh wave of industrial action on Friday in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of Unite, including firefighters, engineers and security staff, will walk out for 24 hours, followed by further strikes on February 9, 13, 16 and 18.

It is expected that further industrial action will be announced if the row is not resolved.

The union has accused the airport of a “fire and rehire” policy, which it said will lead to pay cuts.

Unite officer Wayne King said: “Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) has brutally stripped workers of their pay and left many of them unable to make ends meet.

“With workers being forced to downsize and give up their cars it is not surprising that they are determined to step up industrial action.

“HAL’s motives from the outset have been all about greed and not about need. If this was linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on aviation, then cuts to pay would be temporary and not permanent.”

Credit: PA

A Heathrow spokesman said: “Every frontline colleague has accepted the new offer which pays above the market rate and London living wage.

“Nobody has been fired and rehired and indeed 48% saw no change or experienced a pay increase.

“In addition, we have also launched a business recovery incentive payment to all colleagues which offers a remuneration reward if the airport has recovered sufficiently in two years’ time.

“Our approach to protect jobs in the worst crisis to hit the aviation sector is the right one, and means we have avoided huge swathes of compulsory redundancies, despite losses of over £1.5 billion already.

“These strikes unnecessarily threaten further damage to our business already facing a number of challenges, with virtually no support from Government.

“Nevertheless, we have activated extensive contingency plans which will keep the airport open and operating safely over strike days.”

Unite members took four days of strike action in December as part of the dispute.