Heathrow Terminal 3

More Heathrow workers vote for strike action as Unite confirms overwhelming rejection of revised pay offer

A further two groups of workers at Heathrow Airport have voted to go on strike in an ongoing pay dispute the UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite announced today (Friday 2 August), as it confirmed members had overwhelmingly rejected a revised pay offer from the airport by 88 per cent.

Unite said it would immediately enter into talks at the conciliation serve Acas this evening (Friday 2 August), warning Heathrow Airport against choosing to pay millions of pounds in compensation to airlines for cancelled flights, instead of taking the sensible option of using that money to settle the dispute.

A two-day strike involving security guards, firefighters, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers is planned to start at 00:01 on Monday 5 August, finishing at 23:59 Tuesday 6 August.

The latest two groups of workers, numbering around 100 Unite members in total includes engineers, airside operation controllers, airfield transport officers and environmental officers. If talks at Acas fail, it raises the possibility of these two groups of workers joining over 4,000 colleagues in a further two-day strike planned for Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August.

The dispute comes amid deepening anger over pay disparities between workers doing the same job at the airport and the ‘massive’ pay package of Heathrow Airport’s chief executive officer John Holland-Kaye. Last year the Heathrow boss received a 103.2 per cent pay increase with his basic remuneration package rising from £2.097 million in 2017 to £4.2 million in 2018.

It takes Mr Holland-Kaye around two days to earn what some of the lowest paid Heathrow workers earn in a year.

Commenting Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “Heathrow faces a compensation bill in the region of £4.6 million from airlines if the planned strikes go ahead.

“Rather than provoking the disruption that strike action will cause, we would urge Heathrow Airport to use this money for an improved pay offer that better reflects the hard work of the workers who keep the airport running safely and smoothly.

“This latest vote for strike action points to growing anger among the airport’s workers in a whole range of vital jobs which are essential to the smooth and safe running of Heathrow. Airport bosses need to heed this latest strike vote and the overwhelming rejection by our members of the revised pay offer which offers little over and above the original offer of £3.75 extra a day for many workers.

“It is in Heathrow bosses’ power to settle this dispute. We would urge them to work with us to do so and avoid the disruption to passengers that strike action will inevitably bring.”

For more information journalists only please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 alex.flynn@unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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