A series of planned strikes at Heathrow in a dispute over pay is threatening to cause summer travel chaos.
More than 4,000 workers, including security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and drivers, are set to walk out on 26 July and 27 July, 5 August and 6 August, and 23 August and 24 August, in a move that could potentially shut down the airport.
It comes after members of the Unite union backed strike action in eight separate strike ballots.
The industrial action follow the rejection of an 18 month pay offer amounting to 2.75, which according to Unite amounts to just £3.75 extra a day for the lowest paid workers involved in the dispute.
The planned strikes come amid anger over pay differences between workers doing the same job at the airport and the massive pay hike for Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye.
Last year, he scooped a 103% increase with his basic pay package rising from £2.097 million in 2017 to £4.2 million in 2018.
Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport.
“They are fed up of being expected to accept crumbs while the chief executive pockets an eye popping 103 per cent rise in his pay package and shareholders are handed dividends of over £2 billion in the last two years alone.
“To add insult to injury there are widening pay disparities leading to airport security guards employed after 2014 earning up to £6,000 less than colleagues hired before that date.
“Unite members ensured over 80 million passengers passed safely through Heathrow in the last 12 months and contributed massively to the airport’s huge profits last year. Unite and our members support Heathrow expansion and are working hard to deliver it, but we will not allow Heathrow bosses to get away with low pay.
“All our members are seeking is a pay deal that recognises their important role in keeping passengers safe and on the move, in addition to a commitment by Heathrow bosses to close pay disparities which are leading to a high turnover of staff.
“Bosses at Heathrow Airport need to get their heads out of the sand and start negotiating meaningfully over pay. Otherwise there will be significant disruption to flights to and from Heathrow and the potential closure of the airport over the summer months because of industrial action.”