1,400 security guards will go on strike today Friday 31 March at Heathrow Airport after last minute talks yesterday failed to resolve a pay dispute. The strikes will likely disrupt travel during the Easter school holidays.
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10 day strike at Heathrow Airport
The members of the union Unite will walk out for 10 days starting today and including most of the Easter weekend. Picket lines will be in place throughout the airport during the strike, which is due to conclude in the early hours of Easter Monday.
The industrial action involves security guards at Terminal Five, which is only used by British Airways, and those who are responsible for checking all cargo that enters the airport.
Unite regional coordinating officer Wayne King said:
The strike action will undoubtedly result in severe delays and disruption to passengers across the airport but this dispute is a direct result of Heathrow Airport’s stubborn refusal to pay its workers fairly.
Heathrow Airport's response
Despite this, Heathrow said it has contingency plans to manage the strike. A Heathrow spokesperson said:
We will not let these unnecessary strikes impact the hard-earned holidays of our passengers.
Our contingency plans will keep the airport operating as normal throughout.
We are deploying 1,000 additional colleagues and the entire management team who will be in the terminals providing assistance to passengers over the busy Easter getaway.
However, Heathrow did concede that like at any busy period, it may take passengers more time to get through security during the industrial action. It said in a statement:
Passengers can help us ensure they get the best start to their journeys by checking their flight status with their airline before travelling to the airport, arriving at Heathrow no earlier than two hours before short haul flights and three hours before long haul flights and by being ready for security with their compliant liquids and electronics out of their hand luggage.
Prior to the strike, Heathrow requested airlines stop selling tickets and permit customers to alter travel dates. British Airways has already cancelled 300 flights while Virgin Atlantic limited the sales of new tickets and introduced a flexible policy.
Independent: 'Easter strikes at Heathrow Airport to go ahead after talks collapse'
BBC: 'Heathrow strikes to go ahead for 10 days over Easter break'