“Heathrow Grinch stealing workers’ wages” – Unite airport staff striking over pay cuts

Heathrow Airport workers are striking today in a dispute over wage cuts.  Workers who are members of Unite voted for industrial action, with 84% in favour of the strike, according to the union.  Those involved are firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, central terminal operations, land-side and air-side operations.  However, the airport maintains that nine of 16 cohorts actually voted against strike action.  There were picket lines, and a van that toured Heathrow and the surrounding area  with the messages: “Heathrow’s super-rich shareholders are jetting off with workers’ wages”, “Heathrow Grinch CEO is stealing workers’ wages”, and “Stop Heathrow’s billionaire-backed wage cuts”.  The dispute is about Heathrow’s “fire and rehire” policies, which Unite say will result in workers suffering permanent pay cuts of up to £8,000 per annum – as much as 25% of the take home pay of some.  A further strike is planned for 14 December, followed by a two-day stoppage on 17-18 December, set to be one of the busiest pre-Christmas travel dates. Unite fear Heathrow are using the Covid pandemic as cover for forcing through long held plans to cut pay. John Holland-Kaye himself probably receives a basic annual salary of around £750,000 – with bonuses on top.
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‘HEATHROW GRINCH CEO IS STEALING WORKERS’ WAGES’ SAYS AIRPORT STAFF STRIKING OVER SALARY CUTS

‘These cuts are all about greed and not need,’ says union

Helen Coffey   @LenniCoffey   (the Independent)

1.12.2020

Heathrow workers take industrial action against huge pay cuts – United Left

Heathrow Airport workers are striking today in a dispute over wage cuts.

Workers who are members of Unite voted for industrial action, with 84 per cent in favour of the strike, according to the union.

However, the airport maintains that nine of 16 cohorts actually voted against strike action.

In addition to three socially distanced picket lines during the strike, a van will be touring Heathrow and the surrounding area adorned with the messages: “Heathrow’s super-rich shareholders are jetting off with workers’ wages”, “Heathrow Grinch CEO is stealing workers’ wages”, and “Stop Heathrow’s billionaire-backed wage cuts”.

The dispute has arisen over Heathrow’s “fire and rehire” policies, according to Unite, which it claims will result in workers suffering permanent pay cuts of up to £8,000 per annum – 25 per cent of their take home pay.

In response, the union has called on its members who are employed by Heathrow as firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, central terminal operations, landside and airside operations, to join today’s industrial action.

A further strike is planned for 14 December, followed by a two-day stoppage on 17-18 December, set to be one of the busiest pre-Christmas travel dates.

“Workers face losing their homes and surrendering their cars due to the savage cuts being imposed on them,” said Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King.

“These cuts are all about greed and not need.

“HAL and John Holland Kaye are guilty of using the Covid pandemic as cover for forcing through long held plans to cut pay. If this was genuinely about the pandemic any cuts would have been temporary.

“Unite have tried to negotiate temporary pay cuts but Heathrow were simply not interested.”

He added that the strike was “taken as an absolutely last resort” by Unite’s members.

Heathrow has stated the airport will remain open and operating as usual throughout the strikes.

According to officials, less than 3 per cent of workers will have their pay reduced by more than 20 per cent, while under 1 per cent will have their pay reduced by 25 per cent. Employees that are negatively impacted by wage reductions will continue to be paid their existing salaries for the next two years.

A spokesperson for Heathrow told The Independent: “It’s very disappointing that Unite has decided to take strike action during the worst crisis to hit the aviation sector.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-airport-staff-strike-salary-cuts-b1764419.html

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See also:

 

Heathrow boss clinches corona rogue crown

Unite GS Len McCluskey: Heathrow chief John Holland-Kaye ‘pushing thousands of British families into poverty’

UniteLive,

Monday, November 30th, 2020

It’s been a bumper year for bad bosses but the corona rogue crown has to go to the CEO of Heathrow airport.

John Holland-Kaye enjoys an eye-wateringly huge salary and benefits.  He’s never going to be kept awake at night worrying how he is going to pay the mortgage.  But he doesn’t care for those who do, demanding that thousands of workers employed at Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) hand over a quarter of their salary.
For some, such as Baljit, that means losing £8000 a year.  That’s right, a year.  They’ll go from earning a salary that they can just about get by on in one of the most expensive cities in the world to earning below the national average wage.  For Baljit, she won’t be able to pay her mortgage.  She’ll have to uproot her kids and move miles away from her workplace.She’s not alone.  Nearly five thousand HAL workers have been told to sign away their salaries – or be sacked.John Holland-Kaye is holding a huge gun to their heads.  He should be ashamed of himself, especially as when this crisis took hold he boasted that HAL’s cash mountain was so vast that the airport could happily function for 15 months without a single passenger.And who gets rich on the backs of workers like Baljit?  The Qatari royal family, some of the wealthiest people on the planet.Mr Holland-Kaye, you are pushing thousands of British families into poverty.  Why, so that some billionaires can buy another gold-plated yacht?

Tomorrow (December 1), these workers take a stand, going on strike to keep a roof over their heads.  But in doing so, they’re standing up for workers everywhere.

Gangsters must not prosper. For all our sakes’, the brave Davids who keep this airport functioning must defeat these greedy Goliaths.

By Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary 

https://unitelive.org/heathrow-boss-clinches-corona-rogue-crown/

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See earlier:

Heathrow has lost £1 billion since start of March, is cutting staff pay, and could cut 1,200 jobs

Heathrow says that it has lost £1 billion since the start of March, due to the Covid pandemic. There could be 1,200 Heathrow jobs lost.  The airport served a formal notice to staff yesterday, triggering a 45-day consultation period over compulsory job losses. The airport and unions have failed to agree to a deal over the future of its frontline workforce after months of talks. Heathrow is proposing salary cuts of between 15-20% for some affected staff, with a phased reduction in salaries over 2 years. A voluntary redundancy scheme has been offered. The airport claims there might be few compulsorily redundancies, but only if the unions agree a deal. About 4,700 frontline staff are affected, including engineers, security and airside operations. Heathrow has already lost 450 out of 1,000 head-office managerial staff.  The airport had indicated previously that as many as a quarter of staff could be made redundant, so up to 1,200 jobs may go. Heathrow said its proposals “guarantee a job” for anyone who wants to remain with the business. The Unite union is not happy with the airport’s offers.  Gatwick is losing about 600 jobs, a quarter of its workforce.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow “to slash staff pay by up to a third” becoming a “low cost employer”after collapse in air travel

Heathrow staff are being asked to accept pay cuts of up to 37% and will lose their final salary pension scheme. It will also end paid breaks and allowances, worsen redundancy terms, and refuse to honour a pay rise. The airport wants 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. Air travel demand is currently low, (88% lower in July 2020 than in July 2019) and not expected to rise much in the short term. The aviation sector cannot afford to pay so many staff, when it has little income. Heathrow said it has been forced to take action now to protect jobs. But the union Unite (which has always been an enthusiastic backer of Heathrow and its expansion plans) has told its members that the airport is 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. Unite says John Holland-Kaye told unions that he wanted to make the business a “low-cost employer” during a meeting on July 30th. Many staff working around Heathrow are not directly employed by the airport, but associated businesses. There could be over 20,000 job losses in these companies.

Click here to view full story…

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