Heathrow strike 2019: Airport could be 'shut down' this summer as 4,000 workers to walk out, union warns - ES
Thousands of workers will walk out from Heathrow Airport this summer ( Steve Parsons/PA )
ES News email
Union chiefs have warned of summer travel chaos at Heathrow Airport due to strike action from thousands of workers.
Unite said the UK's biggest airport faced major disruption, with more than 4,000 workers to walk out in a series of strikes over a pay dispute.
It described the action as "a move that could potentially shut down the airport".
Heathrow Airport has said it is "disappointed" at the strike action and "will be implementing contingency plans that will ensure the airport remains open and operating safely throughout".
Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport.
“They are fed up of being expected to accept crumbs while the chief executive pockets an eye popping 103 per cent rise in his pay package and shareholders are handed dividends of over £2 billion in the last two years alone."
The workers, including security guards and engineers, will leave their posts on Friday, July 26, Friday 26 July and Saturday July 27, Monday, August 5 and Tuesday, August 6, as well as Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24.
Mr King added: "All our members are seeking is a pay deal that recognises their important role in keeping passengers safe and on the move, in addition to a commitment by Heathrow bosses to close pay disparities which are leading to a high turnover of staff.
“Bosses at Heathrow Airport need to get their heads out of the sand and start negotiating meaningfully over pay. Otherwise there will be significant disruption to flights to and from Heathrow and the potential closure of the airport over the summer months because of industrial action.”
A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: "We are disappointed that Unite will be taking strike action. Following this decision, we will be implementing contingency plans that will ensure the airport remains open and operating safely throughout any coordinated action. We will be working alongside our airline partners to minimise disruption caused to passengers as they look towards their well-deserved summer holidays.
“We are proud of our record as a good employer and we remain committed to finding a solution. We have proposed a progressive pay package giving at least a 4.6 per cent pay rise to over 70 per cent of our frontline colleagues.
The total package offered is above RPI and is specifically designed to boost the wages of lower paid colleagues. We have invited our union colleagues back to the table and urge them to continue working with us to reach an agreement.”