Heathrow Airport workers strike in car-rally

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Starting from December 14, 2020, around 4,000 Heathrow Airport workers are set to strike in a car-based rally over wage cuts. 

The workers are staging a car-based rally and picket lines around Heathrow Airport (LHR). The union announced that social distancing measures would be maintained during the protest. 

The strike action is organized by Unite the Union, the largest trade union in the UK and Ireland. Its members involve firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, operational, and airside workers. 

Further strike actions are planned for December 17 and 18, 2020. According to the Unite website, the strikes are scheduled to occur at a time when the airport is busy due to the pre-Christmas getaway.

“Workers will be ramping up strike action this week as HAL has refused to withdraw its decision to brutally fire and rehire its loyal staff,” said Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King. “The airport’s success was built on its workforce, who have continued to ensure it operates throughout the pandemic, on occasion risking their health. HAL has repaid them by conducting the most brutal fire and rehire operation ever seen in the UK.”

“We are disappointed that Unite has decided to take strike action during the worst crisis to hit the aviation sector,” reads the airport’s website. 

The airport announced it was not expecting schedule changes. However, it advised passengers flying on the days of the strike to contact their airline ahead of travel to check the status of their flight.

On December 11, 2020, British Airways Cargo workers at Heathrow also declared a strike over pay cuts. The planned action would last for nine days over Christmas and New Year. 

In September 2020, Heathrow reported an 84% fall in passenger numbers and lost its title of Europe’s busiest airport to Paris Charles de Gaulles. The situation worsened after the UK went into lockdown measures in the beginning of November 2020. Heathrow already warned the UK government that without help passenger traffic would head elsewhere and job cuts would be unavoidable. 

On December 11, 2020, Heathrow Airport announced that due to low passenger traffic and slow recovery, London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 will remain closed until the end of 2021.

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