HEATHROW Airport could be “shut down” this summer as more than 4,000 workers walk out in a series of strikes over a pay dispute.
Union Unite has announced its members at Heathrow, including security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers, are set to walk out for six days.
They plan to walk out in the coming summer weeks on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27, Monday, August 5 and Tuesday, August 6, and Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24.
Unite claims the walkout “could potentially shut down the airport”, with regional coordinating officer Wayne King saying: “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% rise in his pay package and shareholders are handed dividends of over £2 billion in the last two years alone.
To add insult to injury there are widening pay disparities leading to airport security guards employed after 2014 earning up to £6,000 less than colleagues hired before that date.”
Reacting to the news, 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.”
The spokesman added: “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% pay rise to over 70% 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.”
The Heathrow announcement comes just after staff working at Gatwick said they were voting on whether or not to strike.
And at London Stansted, 17 days of strikes have been announced by staff working at easyJet check-in counters.