Heathrow security guards to go on strike for 10 days over Easter
LONDON — Security guards at Heathrow airport in London will walk off the job for 10 days over the Easter holiday, the latest in a wave of strikes affecting the UK
The Unite union said on Friday that more than 1,400 security guards employed by Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in Europe, would strike from March 31 until Easter Sunday April 9 to demand better pay.
Unite said the strikers include guards who work at the airport’s Terminal 5, which is used exclusively by British Airways, as well as those tasked with checking all goods entering the airport.
The strikes will coincide with the two-week Easter school holidays, traditionally a peak time for travel to Britain.
The union said workers are being forced to act because they cannot make ends meet as a cost of living crisis continues to affect millions of Britons. Heathrow offered a 10% pay rise, but the union said it was not enough amid soaring inflation and after years of wage freezes.
“Heathrow airport workers are on starvation wages while the chief executive and senior executives are on huge salaries,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
UK inflation rose sharply last year to 11.1% in October, although it fell to 10.1% in January. It’s still the highest in about 40 years, and a dramatic change after years of 2% inflation.
Heathrow said it had contingency plans to keep the airport open and operational.
“Threatening to ruin people’s hard-earned vacations with a strike will not improve the deal,” the airport said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of teachers, doctors, healthcare workers, train and bus drivers and civil servants have staged mass walkouts in recent months to demand higher salaries.
Union leaders representing nurses and paramedics have reached a pay deal with the UK government, raising hopes the disruption at the country’s state-funded hospitals will soon end, but many other industries remain locked in bitter pay disputes with the authorities.
On Saturday, thousands of railway workers staged another round of strikes that brought about half of all rail services across the UK to a standstill.
Britons have endured many days of train stoppages since last summer as the transport unions’ bitter row with the government drags on. Further strikes are scheduled for March 30 and April 1.