The Unite trade union recently announced a fresh wave of strikes at Heathrow airport throughout the summer, in further action over pay for security workers.
Despite two planned dates having been called off yesterday, within a week of the first announcement, summer travellers are being warned of possible disruption, with more than 2,000 officers expected to strike over a total of 29 dates between Wednesday 28 June 2023 and Sunday 27 August 2023.
Previous strikes have only affected Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which is used by British Airways. But with security officers in Terminal 3 having voted to join the action for the first time, these latest strikes will impact additional airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Qatar, United, American and Delta. Unite has warned that strike action will continue until Heathrow “makes a fair pay offer to its workers.”
A Heathrow spokesperson has said that talks will continue, commenting that it will work to minimise any potential disruption on passengers: “Unite has already tried and failed to disrupt the airport with unnecessary strikes on some of our busiest days and we continue to build our plans to protect journeys during any future action.”
Airlines are also concerned that repeated French air traffic control strikes will further disrupt flights that pass over France through the summer, with international departures being forced to detour around French airspace. The latest industrial action, which is in response to proposed pension reforms, took place between Monday 5 June and Wednesday 7 June. And with the reforms due to come into effect from 1 September, there is potential for more action to follow unless the ruling is reversed before that date.
Helen Cox, Director of Flight Operations at Travel Places, said: “This new wave of strikes comes at one of the busiest times, and not just those travelling for leisure. There are some significant sporting events taking place this summer, as well as the World Scouts Jamboree which will see thousands of people travelling through the airport. We will continue to do what we can to support those of our clients who may be travelling during these dates.
“Unfortunately, disruption can be unavoidable in international travel. And changes can happen with short notice. But you can prepare. Our advice to any travellers is to keep a close eye on announcements ahead of your journey and leave yourself additional time to get through the airport.”
The current strike dates are as follows:
- June 28, 29, 30
- July 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31
- August 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27