41 Heathrow Airport Limited strikes

HAL pickets at Heathrow Airport during last December’s strike action

UNITE has called ‘targeted’ strike action at Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) from Friday 2nd April to Sunday 25th April, with 41 strikes over the 23-day period, involving engineering, airside operations, landside operations, fire service, campus security and central terminal operations.

Each sector will be taking seven days of strike action. During the strike period at least one of the sectors will be on strike on most days.

The strikes are against HAL’s decision to fire and rehire its 4,000 strong workforce, under which workers have experienced pay cuts of up to £8,000 (25 per cent of earnings).

Announcing the ‘targeted’ strikes on Tuesday, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘Fire and rehire is ripping through our workplaces like a disease.’ HAL workers who spoke to News Line yesterday called for national strike action to defeat it.

Heathrow Airport Limited security officer and Unite member Baburaj Vadakoot told News Line: ‘The company has changed our contracts to pay us around 20% less. It was fire and rehire. They took advantage of the pandemic to do this, like most of the other corporations, just to get in cheap labour.

‘There is a correlation between wages going down and profits going up and the government is bringing in new laws to stop us doing anything against them.

‘We have been on furlough for the last year. The furlough is a technique that the companies embrace because it’s taxpayers’ money that is being used, with all the benefits being given to the company.

‘I wish the workers of the entire world would unite together. It’s not just a problem of the UK, it’s a problem in the whole world. We need a workers’ government. The people who work should be the people who govern. The land should be owned by the tiller, not somebody else. We need to unite and strike together to create the maximum impact. We need a national strike.’

Nasa Kumar, transport officer and Unite member, said: ‘The company are using the pandemic as an excuse to cut the pay of the workers. We’ve worked for so long and made the company millions and millions of pounds over the years.

‘They cut everyone’s money by around 20%, management and workers, but after nine months the management is going to get their money restored. It is an insult. The management is okay, but the staff are really suffering with a hell of a lot of money cut.

‘The other reason for knocking our salary down is that they want to finish the final salary pension, so it’s not just a massive cut to our pay but also to our pensions.

‘I don’t think these targeted strikes are anywhere near enough. What we need is national strike action and a serious fight for renationalisation of all public transport, including HAL and British Airways.’