Heathrow workers voted by a resounding 84 per cent to strike today at the airport.
They are opposing “fire and rehire” policies that mean workers suffering permanent pay cuts of up to £8,000 per annum – 25 per cent of their take home pay.
Workers critical to the functioning of the airport have taken are on strike, including: firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, central terminal operations, landside and airside operations.
Unite has warned that despite the union representing thousands of workers who will still be at work, HAL has refused to discuss its contingency plans for keeping the airport open and as a result the union has raised serious safety concerns.
Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “Workers face losing their homes and surrendering their cars due to the savage cuts being imposed on them.
“These cuts are all about greed and not need.
“HAL and John Holland Kaye are guilty of using the Covid pandemic as cover for forcing through long held plans to cut pay. If this was genuinely about the pandemic any cuts would have been temporary.
“Unite have tried to negotiate temporary pay cuts but Heathrow were simply not interested.
“HAL has claimed that under its ‘contingency plans’ Heathrow can operate safely but despite seeking the evidence to prove this, that information has not been forthcoming, raising serious questions about how the airport will operate during the strikes.
“The dispute will undoubtedly cause widespread disruption but it was taken as an absolutely last resort by members who simply can’t afford the cuts HAL is imposing on them.”
Following the initial day of strike action there will be further strikes on Monday 14 December and then a two day stoppage on Thursday 17 December and Friday 18 December.