Heathrow strike threatens 'severe delays and disruption' for 10 days

London airport says it has contingency plans in place to keep the travel hub running

More than 1,400 security workers at Heathrow, the UK’s biggest airport, will strike from March 31 through April 9, which is Easter Sunday. PA
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Security staff at London's Heathrow Airport have voted to strike for 10 days in a walkout that will occur during the busy Easter bank holiday period.

The strike involves security guards employed at Terminal Five, which is used exclusively by British Airways, and campus security guards who are responsible for checking all cargo that enters the airport.

The Unite union warned the airport would “experience severe delays and disruption” around Easter.

More than 1,400 security workers at Heathrow, the UK’s biggest airport, will strike from March 31 through April 9, which is Easter Sunday.

It is the latest flare-up after months of strikes over pay across a number of sectors, including health care, railways and education, as the cost-of-living crisis leads inflation past 10 per cent.

“Workers at Heathrow Airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

“It is the airport's workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair pay increase.

“Our members are simply unable to make ends meet due to the low wages paid by Heathrow. They are being forced to take strike action due to need not greed.

“Unite has a laser-like focus on prioritising the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and Heathrow needs to be in no doubt that the workers at the airport will receive the union's unstinting support.”

The union said the airport's offer of a 10 per cent pay increase did not make up for years of pay freezes and cuts.

Heathrow said it had contingency plans in place to keep the airport running.

“Passengers can be reassured that we have contingency plans which will keep the airport open and operational despite unnecessary threats of strike action by Unite,” an representative said.

“We have proposed an inflation-beating 10 per cent increase in pay which the public will recognise is fair and a majority of our colleagues have told Unite is not worth striking over. We urge Unite to come back to the table to discuss implementing it.

“Threatening to ruin people's hard-earned holidays with strike action will not improve the deal. We want to do the right thing by our people and our passengers; each day only delays this pay rise reaching Unite members' pockets.”

Earlier this week, train drivers, junior doctors, teachers, civil servants and London Underground workers walked out as part of continuing protests over pay.

On Thursday, unions representing more than 1,000 passport office workers said they would go on strike for five weeks before the summer travel season.

Nurses have suspended further planned strikes after a revised pay offer from managers.

Updated: March 18, 2023, 1:04 AM