Heathrow Unite strikes: Easter airport chaos looms as last-ditch talks go to the wire

Planes coming in to land at Heathrow’s Terminal 4. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Planes coming in to land at Heathrow’s Terminal 4. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Planes coming in to land at Heathrow’s Terminal 4. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Beginning tomorrow, planned strike action at Heathrow could lead to considerable disruption over Easter.

With security staff strikes due to begin tomorrow (March 31), talks between union representatives and Heathrow are continuing.

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A spokesperson for Unite said at 3pm on Thursday afternoon (March 30) that talks are “still ongoing as we speak”.

A total of 10 days of action would mean considerable disruption over Easter for Terminal Five.

The terminal is used by British Airways, which has already cancelled hundreds of flights in preparation, and Campus security guards, who are responsible for checking cargo entering the airport.

More than 1,400 security officers, who are employed by Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) and are members of Unite, are due to take part in the strikes over pay.

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Last-ditch talks were announced on Wednesday in a bid to avert the strikes, whose last day would be Sunday April 9 (Easter Sunday).

Unite says there is a pattern of shareholder payouts and pay hikes for executives, with real-terms wage cuts for Heathrow workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The offer of new talks is to be welcomed. But Heathrow’s executives have to realise that the genie is out the bottle. Workers can’t be expected to accept real term pay cuts as shareholders and bosses get richer and richer. So, if the strike is to be averted there needs to be more real money put on the table to make a decent pay rise."

Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “Unite is entering into the talks in good faith but HAL needs to be aware that unless it is prepared to improve the pay offer to our members then there is no chance of the strike beginning Friday being postponed.”

Heathrow was approached for comment.

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