Around 1,400 security officers employed at Heathrow Airport (HAL) in the UK have announced a further eight days of strike action in a dispute over pay.
The workers will now take industrial action on May 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 and then again on May 25-27. The security officers, who are members of the Unite union, also took 10 days of strike action over Easter, which caused considerable disruption at the airport and resulted in hundreds of flights being canceled. Earlier this month, Unite warned that the low pay was likely to create an exodus of security staff from the airport. A survey of security officers undertaken by Unite revealed that more than one in three (35%) were planning to leave their roles.
According to the union, the current average salary of a Heathrow security officer is £30,000 (US$37,000), which equates to a 24% cut in real terms since 2017. Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, said, “Yet again, we have a chief executive in John Holland-Kaye who thinks it is acceptable to boost his earnings by an eye-watering 88%, from £800,000 (US$991,000) to a staggering £1.5m [US$1.85m], while he denies his own workers a decent pay rise. This dispute is bound to escalate with more workers being balloted and disruption set to continue throughout the summer.”
Wayne King, the regional coordinating officer at Unite, said, “Strikes next month will cause further disruption to airport passengers but this dispute is a direct result of Heathrow’s stubborn refusal to make an offer that meets our members’ expectations. Our members have been crystal clear they are seeking a substantial permanent increase in pay. A small one-off lump sum payment will not alleviate the financial pressures our members are facing on a daily basis. While the CEO can enjoy a lavish millionaire’s lifestyle, our members struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. This is about need, not greed.”
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