Security guards at Heathrow airport will go on strike over Easter in a dispute over pay, raising the possibility of holiday travel disruption.
The UK’s Unite union has confirmed more than 1,400 of its members employed by Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) will strike for 10 days from March 31st.
The industrial action involves security guards employed at the airport’s Terminal 5, prompting fears of travel chaos over the Easter holiday period. Terminal 5 is used by British Airways, including for flights from Dublin.
Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Workers at Heathrow airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries. It is the airport’s workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair pay increase.
“Our members are simply unable to make ends meet due to the low wages paid by Heathrow. They are being forced to take strike action due to need, not greed.
“Unite has a laser-like focus on prioritising the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and HAL needs to be in no doubt that the workers at the airport will receive the union’s unstinting support.”
The airport said it had contingency plans in place to deal with the action, which will take place throughout the Easter holidays when many people travel abroad.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Passengers can be reassured that we have contingency plans which will keep the airport open and operational despite unnecessary threats of strike action by Unite.
“We have proposed an inflation-beating 10% increase in pay, which the public will recognise is fair, and a majority of our colleagues have told Unite is not worth striking over. We urge Unite to come back to the table to discuss implementing it.
“Threatening to ruin people’s hard-earned holidays with strike action will not improve the deal. We want to do the right thing by our people and our passengers, each day only delays this pay rise reaching Unite members’ pockets.”
On Friday, more than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working in passport offices in England, Scotland and Wales voted to strike from April 3rd to May 5th. Members working in the Northern Ireland will do so from April 7th to May 5th.
The union said the action was a “significant escalation” of its long-running dispute, warning it was likely to have a “significant impact” on the delivery of passports as the summer holidays approached.