Heathrow Airport security guard strikes to go ahead as last-minute talks collapse - all you need to know

Unite the Union, which represents the affected staff, confirmed the news in a statement on Wednesday, May 3
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Last minute talks between Unite the Union and Heathrow Airport have failed, meaning security staff will strike as planned on Thursday, May 4. In April, it was announced that 1,400 security officers, based at Heathrow’s terminal 5 and in campus security, will strike for 8 days in May. 

Unite the Union, which represents the affected staff, confirmed the news in a statement on Wednesday, May 3. The Union said its analysis shows “security officers at Heathrow are being paid £6,000 per year less than their counterparts at other London airports.”

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Heathrow prides itself on being the UK’s premium airport – it is bigger and handles more flights and cargo than any other. So it is frankly indefensible that security officer pay is far lower than other London airports. 

Imagine, the so-called ‘best in Britain’ is actually a citadel for poverty pay. How can this be justified?" 

The strike action will now begin on May 4 after last minute talks at the conciliation service, Acas, broke down. Workers at Heathrow will continue to strike on May 5, 6, 9 and 10 and then again on May 25, 26, 27.

The union said it has given Heathrow ‘every opportunity’ to offer better pay for the security officers. Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “Unite has given Heathrow Airport every opportunity to make an improved pay offer, which could have led to the strike action being suspended. 

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“Sadly, they refused to grasp the opportunity to make an offer which could meet members’ expectations.”

Heathrow Airport has said the airport will remain open but has encouraged passengers to check their flight status before arriving for the latest information. Passengers will only be allowed to bring two items of hand luggage through security on strike dates due to the reduced staff. 

Heathrow also issued a tweet to inform passengers to arrive at the airport two hours before a European flight and three hours before a long haul flight. However, travellers have been told not to arrive earlier than these times as this could cause ‘unnecessary congestion’ in the airport.