Last-ditch talks to avert Heathrow security guards strike over Easter
Heathrow Airport will hold last-ditch talks with union officials to avert a planned strike by security guards set to take place over the Easter holidays.
More than 1,400 members of Unite working at Terminal Five are due to walk out for 10 days from Friday until Easter Sunday in a dispute over pay.
Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham said the action would disrupt flights if talks on Thursday fail to yield a settlement.
“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 Heathrow Airports Ltd 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 on Friday being postponed.”
Heathrow claims that security staff have been offered a 10 per cent pay rise in addition to “further enhancements”.
Earlier this week, Heathrow announced contingency plans to keep the airport operating during the 10-day strike.
A spokesperson said that an additional 1,000 workers would be deployed to help mitigate the effects of the strike, claiming security would be “well-managed” despite the disruption.
British Airways has said it expects to cancel up to 32 flights a day between March 31 and April 9 as a result of the action.
Strikes by ground handlers at Heathrow were called off in December after the airport made an improved pay offer. Some 400 Unite members working for aviation firm Menzies had been due to walk out for 72 hours.
The strike over Easter will coincide with separate industrial action by more than 1,000 officials at the Passport Office, with Britons warned of delays to passport renewals.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working in Passport Offices across the UK will walk out for five weeks from April 3 in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.