Heathrow airport workers plan four days of pre-Christmas strikes in Covid pay dispute

Heathrow airport workers plan four days of pre-Christmas strikes in Covid pay dispute

Workers at Heathrow airport plan four days of strikes in the run-up to Christmas in protest against proposed wage cuts.

The walkout will involve ground workers including firefighters and baggage handlers and follows a warning by airport bosses that it wanted to impose reductions cuts of 15 per cent to 20 per cent because of the coronavirus crisis.

The move would affect about half of the 4,700 staff in engineering, air-side operations and security, but the airport will stay open.

However, the Unite union claims there is no financial reason for the airport to implement the cuts, which could amount to £8,000 in some cases.

The planned action will take place across London airports on December, when the new contracts take effect, December 14 and December 17 and 18.

The Covid-19 pandemic has cost Heathrow more than £1billion with passenger numbers plummeting 82 per cent year-on-year to 1.2 million in October.

Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “The airport is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to permanently cut workers’ pay.

“Unite has put forward several alternative suggestions to reduce staffing costs on a temporary basis, all of which have been summarily rejected by management.”

A Heathrow spokesperson responded: “It’s very disappointing that some of our union partners have decided to take strike action during the worst crisis to hit the aviation sector.

“We will now activate extensive contingency plans which will keep the airport open and operating safely throughout this period.”

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