Unite Announces Strikes at Heathrow Over Bad Contract Conditions

Thousands of employees at Heathrow Airport are set to launch a four-day strike in December due to the airport’s alleged “fire and rehire” plans that have reduced the pay of thousands of the company’s long-serving workers.

Thousands of employees at Heathrow Airport are set to launch a four-day strike in December due to the airport’s alleged “fire and rehire” plans that have reduced the pay of thousands of the company’s long-serving workers.

British aviation union Unite organized the strike. Firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, operational and airside workers would be participating in the industrial action.

About 85 percent of the union’s members voted in favor of proceeding with the strike.

According to Unite, the London-based airport told about 4,000 workers to sign new contacts and agree to an annual salary reduction of up to £8,000, which is about 20% of their standard pay.

The union said that each of the employees was provided with four options: to accept the terms and conditions indicated in the new contract with a lump sum payment, a phased buy down over two years of the new contract, voluntary severance or resignation/termination of their contacts.

Unite also claimed that the workers were given a 24-hour ultimatum to hand down their decisions, or face dismissal.

“These decisions will turn Heathrow from one of the most successful airports in the world into a workplace run on bullying and intimidation, it’s disgraceful. In the midst of a global pandemic no key worker should be forced to take such deep pay cuts by an employer that claims to have billions in reserves,” Unite said in a statement.

The industrial action would start on Dec. 1, when the new contracts take effect, followed by a separate 24-hour strike on Dec. 14.

A 48-hour stoppage would also take place on Dec. 17 to 18.


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