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Thousands of Heathrow airport workers on strike in ‘summer of struggle’


Thousands of security staff at London’s Heathrow Airport will stage a month-long strike this summer in an ongoing wage dispute with owners, jeopardizing holidaymakers’ travel plans on some of the busiest days of the year.

The Unite union said on Wednesday that 2,000 of its members, about 40 percent of all security workers at Britain’s hub airport, would leave in a “summer of struggle” on 31 days from June 24.

The strikes will cover most weekends between June 24 and the end of August, as well as a number of longer breaks, including 96-hour actions from July 21, when most schools in England close for the summer.

Some 7.75 million passengers passed through Heathrow in July 2019, the last summer before the start of the Covid-induced disruption.

Terminal 3 staff, which serves airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and Qatar Airways, will join picket lines for the first time since the pay dispute began in March this year.

They will join two groups of workers who took part in previous strikes: workers in Terminal 5, which serves the flag carrier British Airways, and “campus security” staff, who monitor movement between the airside and landside of the airport.

The two groups left in late May, during the busy holiday season for English schools, and in March, as part of a major wave of strikes by public and private sector workers amid the cost of living crisis.

Wayne King, regional coordinating officer for Unite, warned that the flight delays, disruptions and cancellations would be “inevitable”.

He said the airport had “been given many opportunities to make an offer (for a fee) that meets our members’ expectations” but “stubbornly refused” to take it.

Heathrow is offering a 10.1 per cent increase, but Unite has rejected that because it is below retail price inflation, its preferred benchmark, now 11.4 per cent. Consumer price inflation, a more commonly used measure, stands at 8.7 percent.

The airport said it was offering workers a pay rise above inflation and that passengers can “rest assured” it will try to keep disruption to a minimum.

“Unite has already tried but failed to disrupt the airport with unnecessary strikes on some of our busiest days and we continue to work out our plans to protect travel during future actions,” it said.

The employer insisted he was offering a pay rise above inflation.

“There is a two-year inflation-increasing wage increase for colleagues, if only Unite would give them a say,” it sounds.

British Airways said it, like other airlines, was working with Heathrow to ensure “robust contingency plans” were in place.

The dispute marks the latest challenge for Heathrow’s efforts to return operations to normal following the coronavirus pandemic. Passengers criticized the airport last summer after it limited the number of flights airlines could operate to ease strain on its systems amid staff shortages.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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