Heathrow airport strike: Security officers to walk out for 31 days this summer in latest industrial action

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Heathrow Airport security officers are set to strike for 31 days in the latest wave of industrial action.

Around 2,000 security officers at Heathrow Airport will walk out for 31 days this summer in a fresh wave of strikes over a long standing pay dispute, potentially disrupting travellers at the UK’s busiest airport during the school holidays.

Unite, the union leading the strike, said its members working at Terminals 3 and 5, as well as campus security, will walk out from June 24 to August 27. Their action could lead to queues at security checkpoints, which Unite described as a “major escalation” in its dispute with the airport.

It said workers had rejected a "below inflation pay offer of 10.1%", while noting that the higher rate of inflation, RPI, is now 11.4%. In previous strikes, which appeared to have little impact due to Heathrow’s contingency measures, Terminal 3 workers had not been involved.

This time around, the walkouts coincide with busy times for travel including the Eid-al-Adha festival (28, 29 and 30 June), the beginning of the school holidays (21, 22, 23 and 24 July) and the August bank holiday (24, 25, 26 and 27 August).

A Heathrow spokesperson told the BBC it will do "everything" it can to minimise disruption during the strikes. They said: "Unite has already tried and failed to disrupt the airport with unnecessary strikes on some of our busiest days and we continue to build our plans to protect journeys during any future action.

"The simple fact remains that the majority of colleagues do not support Unite’s strikes. There is a two-year inflation-beating pay rise ready for colleagues, if only Unite would allow them to have a say".

In response, Unite’s Sharon Graham said: "This is an incredibly wealthy company, which this summer is anticipating bumper profits and an executive pay bonanza", adding that the airport had "got its priorities all wrong".

Border Force staff at Heathrow who are members of the PCS union held a series of separate walkouts this year, prompting the government to bring in military personnel to staff entry gates.

Heathrow Airport security officers are set to strike for 31 days in the latest wave of industrial action. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Heathrow Airport security officers are set to strike for 31 days in the latest wave of industrial action. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Heathrow Airport security officers are set to strike for 31 days in the latest wave of industrial action. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images) | Bloomberg via Getty Images

What are the new strike dates at Heathrow airport?

The new strike dates are:

  • 24, 25, June
  • 28, 29 and 30 June
  • 14, 15, 16, July
  • 21, 22, 23, 24, July
  • 28, 29, 30, 31 July
  • 4, 5, 6 , 7 August
  • 11, 12, 13, 14, August
  • 18, 19, 20 August
  • 24, 25, 26, 27 August.
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