Heathrow staff are being asked to swallow pay cuts of up to 37pc and will lose their final salary pension scheme as the airport grapples with a plunge in global travel, unions have claimed.
The company is seeking to slash pay and conditions for its 7,000 workers in a bid to become a low-cost employer, according to union chiefs – an allegation denied by management.
A row has broken out between the two sides amid negotiations over changes to staff contracts. Heathrow says these are vital to avoid job cuts, as the airport nurses coronavirus losses of £1bn and rising.
Heathrow – whose owners include Spanish company Ferrovial, the Qatar wealth fund, and China Investment Corp – earlier this week reported an 88pc collapse in passengers in July compared to last year. Around 60pc of its routes are still grounded as the air travel industry reels from the impact of Covid-19.
But in a letter to members, union Unite accused the business of acting out of “greed, not need” and said it was using the pandemic as a smokescreen to cut pay and conditions. It added that Heathrow paid £100m in dividends in April.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye told unions that he wanted to make the business a “low-cost employer” during a meeting on July 30, it is claimed.