Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has reacted with deep concern following reports that Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is to begin the formal process of firing and rehiring workers on vastly inferior pay and conditions.

Fire and rehire

Reports suggest that the company has today (Wednesday 2 September) issued a formal section 188 notice to begin a consultation process which would result in workers being fired and rehired on inferior contracts.

The action of Heathrow airport follow negotiations between HAL and Unite last month on the company’s proposals to cut pay by 24 per cent for some workers, slash allowances, impose inferior conditions and to also close the company pension scheme.

Unite the union is currently formally putting the proposals to the workforce in a consultative ballot.

Extremely unhelpful behaviour

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “HAL’s actions are extremely unhelpful and further undermine confidence in the industry.

“Our members have worked tirelessly throughout Covid-19 pandemic to conduct industrial relations via the media in such a brutish manner is designed to create fear and panic in a group of key workers.

“HAL’s actions have made already difficult negotiations even more fraught.

“Unite is currently balloting its members on the proposals HAL’s actions demonstrate that it is not prepared to allow democracy to run its course.

“At a time when Unite is working hard to persuade the government to follow the lead of other European nations and provide specific financial support to the aviation sector to ensure that the industry and workers can survive the pandemic and thrive in the future, these actions are distinctly unhelpful.

“It should not be forgotten that HAL is an incredibly wealthy company at the start of the pandemic it boasted of a £3.2 billion war chest. These attacks in pay are not about survival but introducing measures to boost future profits.

“Unite urges HAL to withdraw this ill-judged attack on its loyal workforce and to return to the negotiating table as had been previously agreed.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: barckley.sumner@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.