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Christmas strike threatened at Heathrow

Heathrow airport

Around 4,000 members of the Unite union at Heathrow have rejected the airport’s holiday pay offer and imposed cuts to terms and conditions, and will vote on industrial action over the Christmas period.

The union claims Heathrow has been warned to rescind its “bullying bid to cheat staff out of holiday pay, imposed cuts to early start payments and the threat to remove members from the ‘Share of Success’ scheme for taking part in lawful industrial action.” Members say they are angry about proposed changes to the airport’s calculation of overtime and holiday pay.

Members voted by a 94 per cent majority to reject Heathrow’s offer and will take part in an industrial action ballot, which opens on September 27 and closes on October 18.

Unite has released a statement warning of strike action by security staff, fire fighters, airfield operators and engineers, which it says would cause “travel chaos” for passengers over the busy Christmas period. It also comments that businesses would be severely affected, with 139,000 tonnes of cargo passing through Heathrow in August alone.

Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “We would urge Heathrow (HAL) to get back around the table to reach a genuinely negotiated settlement on all of the issues. Otherwise major disruption is on the cards during the hectic Christmas period.”

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