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Heathrow staff announce December strike dates

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Heathrow Airport staff members, who are members of the Unite union, will be striking for four days in December.

The strike is protest against pay cuts which have been imposed on 4,000 staff who did not lose their jobs in the recent redundancy process. The average pay cut is reported to be 20%.

Heathrow strike dates

The strike dates are:

  • 1st December
  • 14th December
  • 17th December
  • 18th December

The strike will run for the full 24 hour period on each day, and so is likely to cause disruption on the day on either side.

It isn’t clear, given the number of staff employed versus the number of passengers due to use the airport, how badly services will be impacted. Firefighters will be amongst those striking, however, so nothing will be arriving or departing if they cannot be replaced.

More information will, no doubt, emerge over the next couple of weeks.

Comments (34)

  • Martin says:

    I really hope flights won’t be cancelled. I have my first flight since March scheduled for Dec 17th

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Dec 17th, day of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flights. Not a baggage handler or firecrew in sight – although there were some coastguards there!

  • ChrisW says:

    I know plenty of people who have had to accept 20% pay cuts this year because of the pandemic.

    • Rob says:

      I’m on about 50% 🙂

      • Nick says:

        100% commission sales based, so around the same.

      • Peter S says:

        Sorry to hear that, Rob. That must be really tough. Thanks, even more so than ever therefore, for your contribution to this great forum/website.

        • Rob says:

          It is completely manageable. Anyone on Heathrow salaries losing 20% will be far more concerned than I am.

    • Tony says:

      Clearly no one likes to take a 20% pay cut but there’s a huge difference in taking one if you’re living comfortably vs living from pay cheque to pay cheque. I suspect those going on strike fall into the latter rather than the former.

  • Ian says:

    I guess BA could just move to Gatwick for these dates.

    Problem sorted!

  • Nick says:

    Sack them all and bring back the people that they made redundant!

    • memesweeper says:

      Give them all a pay rise for having the guts to stand up to a heartless employer at a time of rising unemployment!

      • 1ATL says:

        Nobody is denying times are tough but in the same breath do well by your employees and they’ll generally do well by you. A good employer with any shred of credibility won’t switch to the pay cut justification arguement after having spent years of advocating minimum wage and the mindset that everyone is dispensable. The reason their people joined a union in the first place will be for a louder more united voice against a leadership that they wouldn’t trust to not throw them under a bus given the opportunity.

        I sincerely wish the best of luck to all those who feel they have no other option but to walk out in December and that resolution can be found that meets their needs ahead of any strike.

        I really couldn’t care less who’s supposed to be flying on the affected dates – it misses the whole point over what is trying to be achieved.

        • Simon Barlow says:

          Excellent points.

          Agree wholeheartedley about employers taking advantage to cut pay – happened to myself on a project earlier this year, and this after some hefty reductions/changes for IR35 which they refused to budge on when HMRC postponed the IR35 legislation.

          And in the current environment not being able to fly is a long way down the priorities/what’s important. We had a month in South America planned from beginning of December to celebrate my wife’s 50th and the total eclipse.

          2 years in the planning and no idea when it will be able – certainly unlikely to combine her 50th with an eclipse again!

          • 1ATL says:

            My previous employers current initiative is to invite people of their choosing to leave with a tax cash gift which ‘isn’t redundancy’. The fact they’re reporting this to HMRC as a severance package is neither here nor there. They’re now pretty much depleted of a UK work force and are picking of one by one of whoever happens to be left in any given month with this proposition which in every case I’m aware of is marginally better than statutory redundancy the individual would be entitled to if they acknowledged it was actually a redundancy in disguise. They also don’t have to serve notice to those accepting this ‘gesture’ or pay pension contributions on that period, they’re getting rid of people at the end of any given month. They’re now left disproportionately top heavy in mid management and leadership/directors who remain untouched with such offers being made to them…. go figure.

          • Lady London says:

            @Simon my field of work has gone that way too. IR35 spooked companies who actually offer work that is always genuinely outside it, into blanketing everything inside it. The year’s delay came too late – large and medium companies had already set up their new project hiring (for short term, temporary projects) that way in fear. or they outsource that basically means the work goea abroad.

            Some even force unbrella companies but expect the contractor to pay the fees foe that. One role like that, even in covid, not difficult to fill was still on offer 7 weeks later. I wasnt the only contractot approached who politely told agencies no thanks – the company could take a funny run.

            After covid IR35 will kill any recovery in my field and so many projects will go to India etc. via consultancies and agencies that are basically shopfronts for labour abroad. The good news is that will shorten the cycle time to the start of remediation projects that are likely to need locally based labour but that’s still 2-5 years to wait.

        • Track says:

          People flying is the main thing Heathrow employees and HAL itself should be caring about…

  • SK Vythilingum says:

    Will that be BA security as well

    • Rob says:

      Anyone employed by the airport, so yes.

      • Harry says:

        The Unite press release mentions every area but terminal security – so I think passenger security will be okay… but if there are no fire fighters, getting through passenger security easily won’t matter much.

  • pigeon says:

    Perhaps Heathrow will hire Surrey County Council to provide the firefighting service?

    This is what the union said last summer:
    https://www.fbu.org.uk/news/2019/08/02/union-slams-heathrow-strike-breaking-scheme

  • Sunguy says:

    People can shout at me if they think Im wrong….BUT….

    At least in my little mind, much of this is the governments own doing…..all stemming from the requirement to break up BAA due to what was in essence the sale of BAA to Ferovial….but thats my 2¢! (BAA at one point had the worlds largest private fire service, with some of the best training, terms and conditions that existed – since the breakup, that title has gone, and the training…..well…we all know what happens to that!)…

    Anecdotally, last time I went through LHR was at T5 back in September, they didnt have enough staff on Security – no fast tracks open – no notices stating fast track was closed, as was North security – took 35mins to get through South, 1 bag was held back because of insulin in a plastic bag on the same tray (or that was the excuse) – it took 40mins (yes, 40) to be processed ….1hr 15mins just to get through security…..

    LHR Duty manager was on scene anyway because it was such a mess, the only excuse he had was that there were many folks on furlow…..

    So, this entirely seems a case of BAA messing over Airlines, Staff and Passengers just to make a few extra £££…….and do you really think that staff being treated to a 20% pay cut (lets be honest they wont be making that much more than minimum wage anyway – unless you have been there for 20+ years)…..will make them work hard to process passengers through security and pleasantly through the airport ?

    • Rob says:

      That makes no sense though. Heathrow only makes decent money if you clear security quickly and have time to spend in the shops. If you’re standing in a queue, you’re not spending.

      What we didn’t write about, although probably should have, is that Heathrow asked the Government to reimburse it £1.7 billion for its coronavirus losses, so that the airport would make the same profit this year as it normally does. This was to be acheived by putting up the passenger charge added to your flight ticket until the full £1.7bn had been recouped. They were told to clear off – but, shockingly, told that if they returned with something a bit less stupid it might be allowed.

      • Insider says:

        Asked the CAA which is almost independent from government…

        Let’s see what Heathrow submit this time, but it is outrageous that they are trying to bully the CAA into giving them money through increased charges just so they can extract the money to their shareholders.

      • Bagoly says:

        Er, who said that management is necessarily being sensible?
        Some manager’s incentives will be tied to cutting some cost, so cut it is, even if that reduces the overall profits of the company (this example of knock-one effect you give is a great one)
        It happens all over the place.

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