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Union announces Heathrow strikes and claims airport will ‘grind to a halt’

Heathrow airport will “grind to a halt” during series of strikes in December, the Unite union has claimed.

Union members including firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, operational and airside workers voted 85 per cent in support of industrial action at the UK’s busiest airport.

They plan to stop work for 24 hours on 1 and 14 December, with a 48-hour pre-Christmas stoppage on 17 and 18 December.

The dispute is over what Unite calls Heathrow Airport Ltd’s “plans to fire and rehire its 4,000 workers on vastly reduced pay”.

Unite said the strike “will effectively close the airport”.

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The union’s regional coordinating officer Wayne King said: “Workers are taking strike action as a direct result of Heathrow Airport’s brutal proposals to fire and rehire them on greatly reduced wages.

“The airport is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to permanently cut workers’ pay.

“Unite has put forward several alternative suggestions to reduce staffing costs on a temporary basis, all of which have been summarily rejected by management.

“The way that workers, who are already suffering extreme levels of stress and anxiety, are being treated by HAL’s management, demonstrates that they have apparently learned all their skills of tact and diplomacy from Donald Trump.

“This strike action will undoubtedly cause a great deal of disruption to passengers and cargo deliveries using the airport but this is purely a result of the company’s appalling treatment of workers.”

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

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