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Published on Monday, August 10, 2020

Heathrow workers to vote on strike action over plans to cut pay

The Unite union is warning of possible industrial action at Heathrow as it consults members on plans by the airport to cut pay and allowances.

The union is accusing Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) of pursuing a `greed, not need' approach to the workforce after it announced in June it intends to save money by cutting pay and allowances as well as close the final salary pension scheme.

Unite says it has attempted to reverse many of the proposals and has proposed pay cuts should be temporary, but it says such suggestions have been firmly rejected by HAL.

The union, which represents over 4,000 directly employed workers at the airport, will recommend proposals are rejected.

Unite's officials say HAL has threatened to issue section 188 notices, which would result in staff being fired and re-hired on the inferior contracts, in an effort to `bounce' the workforce into hasty acceptance of the new contracts.  

Some workers are set to lose over £8,000 a year on basic pay, which amounts to a cut of 24% and all workers will receive a cut to pay and allowances. 

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: "HAL is cynically using Covid-19 to bounce workers into accepting drastic attacks on their pay in order to boost boardroom profits. 

"This is pure greed, not need.

"Unite has made proposals that pay cuts should be temporary but Heathrow has rejected this out of hand.

"The pay cuts faced by our members mean that many could lose their homes.

 "If as expected Unite members reject these huge pay cuts we will take whatever steps needed to protect our members' pay.  

 "HAL is acting like a tin-pot dictator, threatening to hire and fire the very workers who have dedicated their lives to serving passengers at the airport.

"Unite is urging HAL to withdraw these massive pay cuts and return to the negotiating table where Unite is committed to discussing fair cost reductions.  

"We recognise that there challenges for this industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but forcing the workforce onto the breadline is not the responsible or necessary answer to this crisis."

Over 800 workers left Heathrow airport as part of a voluntary severance scheme at the end of last month.


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