During the summer, security personnel at Heathrow airport intend to participate in a new series of strikes, which may impact travelers at the UK’s most heavily trafficked airport.
Around 2,000 officers, who are part of the Unite union, are planning to go on strike for a period of 31 days from June 24th to August 27th
The security checks at Terminals 3 and 5 will be impacted and non-passengers may face delays, which could result in long lines.
According to Unite, the pay dispute with the airport has significantly intensified and is now considered a major escalation.
The statement mentioned that employees had turned down a salary proposal of 10.1% which was lower than the current inflation rate. However, it was acknowledged that the actual inflation rate, RPI, has increased to 11.4%.
In the past, strikes at Heathrow did not seem to affect travelers much because of the airport’s backup plans, but the upcoming strikes will involve employees from Terminal 3, which is a new development.
Heathrow airport is among the most crowded airports worldwide and individuals across the United Kingdom may face its impacts.
According to Katy Austin, the BBC’s transport correspondent, there is a possibility of extended waiting times at security checkpoints due to the strikes. However, it is currently uncertain whether airlines will be forced to cancel any scheduled flights.
The strikes are happening at the same time as popular travel periods, such as the Eid celebration from June 28-30, the start of school vacations from July 21-24, and the August holiday from August 24-27.
According to a representative from Heathrow, the airport will make every effort to reduce the amount of inconvenience caused by the upcoming strikes.
The labor union, Unite, has previously attempted to cause chaos at the airport with strikes that were deemed unnecessary and occurred on days with high traffic. As a result, measures are being taken to safeguard travelers from any future disruptions.
Most colleagues do not back the strikes organized by Unite. A pay increase that surpasses inflation rates for two years is available for colleagues, but it can only be accessed if Unite permits them to participate in the decision-making process.
According to their statement, negotiations to settle the conflict with Unite will carry on.
The dates of the upcoming strike at Heathrow airport have been announced.
Heathrow airport is currently facing strikes, which is a setback for its recovery process after being affected by the pandemic. The company that operates the airport experienced a loss of £139 million in the first quarter of 2021.
According to Sharon Graham, a representative of Unite, the airport’s priorities are misplaced. She believes that the airport, which is expected to earn a considerable profit this summer, is a very wealthy company, and yet it is still focusing on executive pay rather than addressing more pressing issues.
Earlier this year, employees of the PCS union who work for Border Force at Heathrow Airport went on multiple strikes, which resulted in the government deploying military personnel to manage the entry gates.
Since last summer, numerous industries in the UK have witnessed strikes being organised by their workers, affecting hundreds of thousands of individuals.
The majority of people are asking for better terms and conditions and for salaries to keep up with the increasing cost of living, which is currently rising at the highest rate it has been in almost four decades.
Last summer, airports experienced a state of confusion due to a combination of employee strikes and a lack of staff. This coincided with an increase in the number of people traveling after the pandemic.
According to Wayne King, who is the regional co-ordinating officer, customers should anticipate a continuation of the current situation.
The strike action will lead to delays, interruptions, and cancellations, which are unavoidable. However, the reason behind this dispute is solely the responsibility of Heathrow Airport.
According to the consumer organization Which?, if an airline cancels a flight due to employee strikes, passengers have the right to receive compensation, except if the airline informs them about the cancellation two weeks in advance.
If a flight is cancelled due to strikes by airport staff, Border Force or air traffic control, it will be considered an exceptional situation.
As per the information provided by Which?, it indicates that individuals who are scheduled to travel should be given the option of a refund or an alternative flight, but the airline is not obligated to provide compensation
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