Heathrow Airport security plans 8-day strike in May: coronation weekend targeted

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Around 1,400 security officers working at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) are planning eight days of strike action in May 2023 in a dispute over pay.

The security officers, who are all members of Unite, one of the UK’s biggest unions, are targeting the following dates to take industrial action: May 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10, and then again on May 25, 26, 27.

The dates will affect two long weekend holidays: The Royal coronation on May 6, 2023, and Spring bank holiday on May 29, 2023. 

“Yet again, we have a chief executive in John Holland-Kaye who thinks it is acceptable to boost his earnings by an eye watering 88 per cent, from £800,000 to a staggering £1.5 million, while he denies his own workers a decent pay rise,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement and Tweet.

“This dispute is bound to escalate with more workers being balloted and disruption set to continue throughout the summer,” Graham added. 

“Strikes next month will cause further disruption to airport passengers but this dispute is a direct result of Heathrow’s stubborn refusal to make an offer that meets our members’ expectations.

Our members have been crystal clear they are seeking a substantial permanent increase in pay. A small one off lump sum payment will not alleviate the financial pressures our members are facing on a daily basis,” Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said in the same statement.

“While the CEO can enjoy a lavish millionaire’s lifestyle, our members struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. This is about need not greed,” King added. 

The 1,400 security officers had also taken 10 days of strike action over Easter, with the union claiming that “hundreds” of flights had to be canceled.

Meanwhile, London Heathrow told Travel Weekly that it will not let Unite disrupt the flow of visitors to the UK “during such an important period for the country”.

Around 2,200 guests are expected to attend the Royal Coronation, mostly made up of world leaders and dignitaries who will fly into London from across the globe. 

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