Outsourcing giant Mitie has been blasted by Unite after it told low paid cleaners helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus at Heathrow Airport that they will not receive the pay increase to the London Living Wage promised for April. 

Mitie has told the key workers, who clean shared spaces such as seating areas and toilets at Heathrow Terminal 5 for the minimum wage of £8.72 an hour, that their hourly rate will now not rise this month to the London Living Wage of £10.75. 

The company has given no indication of when the delay will be reversed and the London Living Wage introduced. 

Unite, which represents nearly 200 Mitie cleaners at Heathrow, said the firm had tried to justify the move by saying it was a result of coronavirus cost cutting measures introduced by Heathrow Airport bosses. 

The union said Mitie, which reported operating profits of £88.2 million in 2018/19, should shoulder the costs instead of trying to pass them off to hard working staff who are ‘putting themselves and their families at risk to help stop Covid19’

Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: “Unite is incredibly disappointed that our members, working on the frontline to keep things operating at the airport, will stay on minimum wage rates. Without them, Heathrow Airport could not safely function during this crisis. 

“While we understand the unprecedented and serious situation at Heathrow Airport as a result of the pandemic, it should not be low paid cleaners – who are putting themselves and their families at risk to help stop Covid19 – taking a financial hit. 

“Mitie can afford to shoulder the costs of introducing the London Living Wage, which is acknowledged as the least an individual needs to have a reasonable standard of living in the capital, and should do so. Unite will be taking all available action to ensure that Mitie keeps its Living Wage promise.” 

ENDS 

Notes to editors: 

The London Living Wage is set by the Living Wage Foundation and is independently-calculated based on what people need to get by. 

For more about Unite's work during the coronavirus crisis to keep workers and the public safe, and to protect jobs and incomes, click here.

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org

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