Corbyn ally Len McCluskey’s union threatens 4,000-worker strike to ‘shut down’ Heathrow Airport for SIX DAYS this summer ruining millions of holidays
- Unite plans three, 48-hour walkouts at Heathrow Airport in July and August
- The union has rejected a pay rise offered by management at the airport
- The first 48-hour walkout is timed to hit the weekend most schools break up
- The strikes are planned on July 26-27, August 5-6 and August 23-24
Heathrow Airport could be shut for six days over the summer after Unite announced a series of 48-hour walkouts.
Unite, which is run by Jeremy Corbyn’s chief backer Len McCluskey, balloted more than 4,000 members of staff at the airport having rejected an offer of a pay rise.
The union, who represent security guards, engineers, passengers service operatives and passenger service drivers at the airport are planning to walk out on Friday July 26 for 48 hours.
They will again go on strike for 48 hours on Monday, August 5 and Friday August 23 after members rejected a proposed 2.7 per cent pay rise.
Hundreds of thousands of passengers could be affected during the 48-hour walkouts
Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey, pictured, is a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
The union claims the rejected pay deal was only worth £3.75-a-day for the lowest paid workers at the airport.
More than 4,000 staff across all five terminals at the airport are involved in the dispute.
Heathrow Airport said they were ‘disappointed’ by the planned walkouts.
A spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Following this decision, we will be implementing contingency plans that will ensure the airport remains open and operating safely throughout any coordinated action.
‘We will be working alongside our airline partners to minimise disruption caused to passengers as they look towards their well-deserved summer holidays.
‘We are proud of our record as a good employer and we remain committed to finding a solution. We have proposed a progressive pay package giving at least a 4.6 per cent pay rise to over 70 per cent of our frontline colleagues.
‘The total package offered is above RPI and is specifically designed to boost the wages of lower paid colleagues. We have invited our union colleagues back to the table and urge them to continue working with us to reach an agreement.’
The union claimed there is growing frustration over pay disparities between workers doing the same job, as well as the ‘massive’ pay package earned by Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye, whose basic remuneration rose from £2.1 million in 2017 to £4.2 million last year.
Heathrow Airport is facing travel misery as Unite announces three 48-hour walkouts
The walkouts could see hundreds of flights disrupted and may even force the closure of the airport during the strikes which are timed to disrupt the peak holiday season
Unite’s regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: ‘There is deepening anger over pay among workers who are essential to the smooth running of Heathrow Airport.
‘They are fed up of being expected to accept crumbs while the chief executive pockets an eye popping 103 per cent rise in his pay package and shareholders are handed dividends of over £2 billion in the last two years alone.’
The union claims security guards employed before 2014 are being paid up to £6,000 more a year than their colleagues hired after that date.
Mr King added: ‘Bosses at Heathrow Airport need to get their heads out of the sand and start negotiating meaningfully over pay. Otherwise there will be significant disruption to flights to and from Heathrow and the potential closure of the airport over the summer months because of industrial action.’