May 18, 2024

Heathrow reassures passengers ahead of further strikes

Heathrow Airport is assuring passengers there will be no flight cancellations during the next round of security officer strikes scheduled for May 25-27.

In a statement, it said throughout the previous strike periods most passengers waited less than five minutes for security, and almost all waited less than 10 minutes.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said passengers should not be concerned.

‘The 15 days of strike action over the Easter peak and Coronation weekends have had no impact on the smooth running of the airport, and passengers have not noticed any difference from the normal great service they expect at Heathrow.

“These strikes are completely unnecessary.  When I speak to colleagues the overwhelming message is that they just want to vote on our pay offer, but Unite won’t let them. We made a generous 10% offer early on to make sure colleagues got a substantial increase when they needed it most. Unite’s delays mean non-union colleagues as well as the majority of colleagues who are union members, who voted to accept our previous offer are losing out.”

The airport has proposed a 10% pay increase, which has been on the table since January 1.

“We have subsequently improved this offer with a £1,150 lump sum and a guarantee of an inflation-linked increase in 2024. We know the majority of colleagues want to accept this offer, but trade unions have refused to allow their members to vote on it,” added Holland-Kaye.

“We want to give all our colleagues a hard-earned pay rise. We urge trade unions to listen to their members and ballot on the deal.”

But Unite, which represents around 1,400 security officers at Terminal Five and in Campus Security (responsible for checking all vehicles and workers entering Heathrow), said the 10% rise does not address a decline in their pay.

Unite says its research shows the average remuneration of Heathrow Airport workers has fallen by 24% since 2017, in real terms, and that Heathrow security officers are paid less than workers at other major airports in London and the South East.

“The officers, who were the highest paid prior to the Covid pandemic, are now paid between £5,000 and £6,000 per annum less than their counterparts at Stansted and Gatwick,” it said.