Over 90 firefighters and fire and rescue staff at Heathrow Airport have become the latest group of workers to vote for strike action at the UK’s busiest airport in a dispute over pay, their union Unite announced today (Monday 22 July).

The vote, which saw fire and rescue workers back strike action by 97.6 per cent on a turnout of 90.2 per cent, means they will join over 4,000 Heathrow Airport workers in their second and third two day strikes planned for Monday 5 August and Tuesday 6 August, and Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August.

The first two day strike, which involves over 4,000 security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers, is set to take place on Friday 26 July and Saturday 27 July unless a breakthrough in talks between Unite and Heathrow Airport at the conciliation service Acas can be found.

The planned strikes follow the rejection of an 18 month pay offer amounting to 2.7 per cent, which according to Unite amounts to just £3.75 extra a day for the lowest paid workers involved in the dispute.

The action 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.

Commenting Unite regional officer Russ Bull said: “Bosses at Heathrow Airport need to heed this massive vote in favour of strike action by a group of workers who are essential to the airport’s safety.

“They need to seize the window of opportunity that talks at the conciliation service Acas offer and work with Unite to resolve this pay dispute. The disruption of strike action can be avoided, but only if Heathrow Airport bosses start listening to staff across the airport.

“Workers who are essential to the smooth and safe running of Heathrow are sick and tired of bosses pleading poverty and being told to accept a pittance of a pay rise, while shareholders receive billions in dividends and the chief executive pockets a pay rise of 103.2 per cent.

“Our members do not take strike action lightly, but they have grown increasingly frustrated. This is a dispute which could have been sorted months ago. It is time Heathrow Airport started talking seriously about a fair pay rise which recognises the vital role they play in keeping passengers on the move.”

ENDS

For more information 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.