Thought leadership

Strikes by 4,000 Heathrow airport workers on Friday and Saturday have been called off so they can vote on a new pay offer. The strikes would have hit flights on one of the busiest weekends of the summer.

Frontline staff have been offered a 7.3% pay increase over two-and-a-half years. Two more 48-hour strikes from 5 August and 23 August are still on the table until the result of the vote is known.

Should the pay offer be accepted, those strikes would also be called off.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are pleased that Unite have decided to put our offer to our colleagues and to pause industrial action on 26 and 27 July.

“We welcome this outcome, as will thousands of passengers, whose holidays will now go to plan this weekend.

The spokesperson added that the proposed deal provided “significantly above inflation pay rises for all colleagues”.

Earlier in July, Heathrow staff rejected an 18-month pay rise offer averaging 2.7%.

At the time, the union said the workers were angry over pay rates, including different pay rates for the same job.

There was also disquiet over the pay package of airport boss John Holland-Kaye, who got £4.2m in 2018, up from £2.1m in 2017, mainly thanks to a long-term bonus scheme.

Separately, on Tuesday British Airways lost a legal bid to stop its pilots from going on strike over pay in the summer holiday season, but said it planned to appeal against the decision.

The pilots’ union has yet to set any dates for industrial action.

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