Security guards at Heathrow Airport are to strike over Easter in a dispute over pay.
Unite said more than 1,400 of its members employed by Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) will take 10 days of strike action from March 31 after voting in favour of walkouts.
The strike involves security guards employed at Terminal Five, but the airport said it has contingency plans in place to deal with the action.
The airport strike comes as panicked Brits race to renew their passports amid fears of delays as more than 1,000 Passport Office workers plan to participate in a five-week strike from Easter.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Workers at Heathrow Airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries.
‘It is the airport’s workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair pay increase.’
A Heathrow spokesperson said travellers can be ‘reassured that we have contingency plans which will keep the airport open and operational despite unnecessary threats of strike action by Unite.’
‘We have proposed an inflation-beating 10 per cent increase in pay which the public will recognise is fair and a majority of our colleagues have told Unite is not worth striking over,’ the airport spokesperson stated.
‘We urge Unite to come back to the table to discuss implementing it. Threatening to ruin people’s hard-earned holidays with strike action will not improve the deal.
‘We want to do the right thing by our people and our passengers, each day only delays this pay rise reaching Unite members’ pockets.’
The union said the airport’s offer of a 10 per cent pay increase could not make up for years of pay freezes and cuts.
‘Our members are simply unable to make ends meet due to the low wages paid by Heathrow. They are being forced to take strike action due to need not greed,’ said Ms Graham.
‘Unite has a laser-like focus on prioritising the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and HAL needs to be in no doubt that the workers at the airport will receive the union’s unstinting support.’
Similarly, more than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union will take part in the walk-out from April 3 to May 5 in a massive escalation of a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
It is feared the industrial action will have a ‘significant impact’ on the delivery of passports, further straining a system already struggling with a Covid backlog.
It usually takes about 10 weeks to renew a passport, but last year tens of thousands of people had to wait even longer due to the volume of applications after Covid travel restrictions were lifted. Fast-track services are available but they are much more expensive.
The planned industrial action comes after around 133,000 civil servants across the UK walked out this week in what was largest day of strikes thus far this year.