Heathrow Airport will be hit by 31 days of strikes this summer after security officers voted to escalate their pay dispute.
Industrial action has been announced for almost every weekend from the middle of June to the end of August, affecting Eid al-Adha and the beginning of the school holidays.
Major disruptions to travel is expected as the strikes will involve more than 2,000 security officers.
British Airways, Virgin, Emirates, Qatar, United, American and Delta are just some of the airlines set to be affected by the walkouts at Terminal 3 and 5.
For the first time security officers based at Terminal 3, who voted for action last week, will join their colleagues from Terminal 5 and campus security, responsible for checking all personnel and vehicles going airside, on the picket line.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Unite is putting Heathrow on notice that strike action at the airport will continue until it makes a fair pay offer to its workers.
‘Make no mistake, our members will receive the union’s unflinching support in this dispute.
‘Heathrow has got its priorities all wrong. This is an incredibly wealthy company, which this summer is anticipating bumper profits and an executive pay bonanza.
All the days when the security officers at Heathrow will be on strike in summer 2023
Most strike dates encompass whole weekends across the summer months:
- Saturday, June 24 to Sunday, June 25 (two days)
- Wednesday, June 28 to Friday, June 30 (three days)
- Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16 (three days)
- Friday, July 21 to Monday, July 24 (four days)
- Friday, July 28 to Monday, July 31 (four days)
- Friday, August 4 to Monday, August 7 (four days)
- Friday, August 11 to Monday, August 14 (four days)
- Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 20 (three days)
- Thursday, August 24 to Sunday, August 27 (four days)
These dates include Eid festival (28, 29 and 30 June), the start of the school holidays (21, 22, 23 and 24 July) and the August bank holiday (24, 25, 26 and 27 August).
‘It is also expected to pay out huge dividends to shareholders, yet its workers can barely make ends meet and are paid far less than workers at other airports.’
This escalation comes after workers rejected a below inflation pay offer of 10.1%.
Unite stressed that since 2017, their average remuneration has dropped by 24% in real terms.
Heathrow security officers are also paid less than those at other major airports in London and the South East.
Security officers, who were the highest paid prior the pandemic, are now earning between £5,000 and £6,000 less than their counterparts at Stansted and Gatwick annually.
Regional coordinating officer Wayne King warned the disruption could escalate even further in the coming weeks if the company does not address the union’s demands.
He added: ‘Delays, disruption and cancellations will be inevitable as a result of the strike action. But this dispute is completely of Heathrow’s own making.
‘The company has been given numerous opportunities to make an offer meeting our members’ expectations and so avoid another period of damaging strike action.
‘Sadly, Heathrow has stubbornly refused to take this opportunity.’
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