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Heathrow airport workers announce 31 days of strikes as holidaymakers face summer of chaos

Holidaymakers face a summer of travel chaos after a series of fresh strikes by security guards at Heathrow Airport was announced, with union leaders warning industrial action could escalate .

Unite the Union said more than 2,000 of its members will walk out for 31 days from 24 June during one of the busiest periods of the school holidays in a dispute over pay.

The industrial action will stretch across seven consecutive weekends in June, July and August.

Security officers based at Terminal 3 will join colleagues from Terminal 5 on picket lines for the first time, meaning airlines other than British Airways will be affected.

Terminal 3 staff voted last week for strike action, with walkouts set to hit Virgin, Emirates, Qatar, United, American and Delta as Unite warned that strikes could intensify in the coming weeks.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite is putting Heathrow on notice that strike action at the airport will continue until it makes a fair pay offer to its workers.

“Make no mistake, our members will receive the union’s unflinching support in this dispute. Heathrow Airport has got its priorities all wrong.

Security guard members of the Unite union on the picket line at Heathrow Airport, London, after last-ditch talks failed to resolve a pay dispute with action likely to disrupt school holiday travel. The guards are beginning ten days of planned continuous strike action across the Heathrow campus ending in the early hours of Easter Monday. Picture date: Friday March 31, 2023. PA Photo. Around 1,400 members of Unite will walk out for 10 days, including most of the Easter weekend. The union said talks broke down because Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) failed to substantially improve its pay offer. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire
Security guard members of the Unite union on the picket line at Heathrow Airport earlier this year. A fresh wave of strikes have been announced over June and July (Photo: credit s Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire_

“This is an incredibly wealthy company, which this summer is anticipating bumper profits and an executive pay bonanza.

“It’s also expected to pay out huge dividends to shareholders, yet its workers can barely make ends meet and are paid far less than workers at other airports.”

The strike dates called are June 24, 25, 28, 29 and 30, with July 14-16, 21-24, and 28-31 and August 4-7, 11-14, 18-20 and 24-27 also affected.

Unite says Heathrow security officers are paid less than workers at other major airports in London and the South East and that workers pay has slumped by 24 per cent since 2017.

 Workers have already rejected a pay offer of 10.1 per cent with Unite saying the RPI rate of inflation is currently 11.4 per cent.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “Delays, disruption and cancellations will be inevitable as a result of the strike action. But this dispute is completely of  Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL)’s own making.

“The company has been given numerous opportunities to make an offer that meets our members’ expectations and so avoid another period of damaging strike action. Sadly, HAL has stubbornly refused to take this opportunity.”

(This story is being updated)

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