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Unite announces 23 days of strike action at Heathrow

Wed, 17th Mar 2021 15:17

(Sharecast News) - Unite announced 41 strikes at Heathrow Airport for the spring on Wednesday, as part of what the union described as a "bitter dispute" following the airport operator's decision to fire-and-rehire its entire workforce.
It said targeted strike action would begin on 2 April, with the 41 strikes to occur over 23 days, and the final action scheduled for 25 April.

The action would involve engineering, airside operations, landside operations, fire service, campus security and central terminal operations, United said.

Each of those sectors would take seven days of strike action, and during the period, at least one sector would be on strike on most days.

The dispute, the union said, was the result of Heathrow Airport Holdings' decision to fire and rehire its 4,000-strong workforce.

It said workers were facing pay cuts of up to £8,000, or 25% or earnings, with Unite asserting that if the employment action was about making savings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pay cuts would have been temporary, rather than permanent.

The length of the strike action was longer than initially intended, the union added, following a recent decision by Heathrow Airport Holdings to not pay a worker for a complete shift if the worker was on strike for any of that shift.

The workers took their ninth day of strike action last week, on 12 March, after Unite said it tabled proposals in February in a bid to resolve the dispute, to which it said Heathrow had failed to fully respond.

"These strike days are avoidable, yet Heathrow is not listening," said Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King.

"Heathrow Airport Holdings railroaded these pay cuts through at a staggering speed, leaving thousands of workers on less pay just before Christmas.

"But while Unite put forward clear proposals in February to resolve the dispute, the company has yet to give any kind of formal response."

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