News Update


Summer strikes have been declared by Heathrow security workers.

Heathrow airport security employees will take part in a new wave of strikes this summer, potentially affecting passengers at the UK’s largest airport.

Around 2,000 officers from the Unite union will go on strike for 31 days between June 24 and August 27.

Terminals 3 and 5 and checks for non-passengers would be affected and the move could generate lineups at security.

Unite termed it as “a major escalation” in its pay dispute with the airport.


It said staff had rejected a “below inflation pay offer of 10.1%”, despite acknowledging that the higher rate of inflation, RPI, is now 11.4%.

Previous strikes have appeared to have little impact on passengers due to Heathrow’s contingency plans, but the latest wave of strikes will include terminal 3 workers for the first time.

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world and passengers from all across the UK could be affected.

The strikes could lead to lengthier queues going through security, although it is unclear at the moment whether any airlines would cancel flights, writes the BBC’s transport correspondent Katy Austin.

The walkouts coincide with busy times for travel including the Eid festival (28, 29 and 30 June), the commencement of the school holidays (21, 22, 23 and 24 July) and the August bank holiday (24, 25, 26 and 27 August).

A Heathrow representative said it will do “everything” it can to minimise inconvenience during the strikes.

“Unite has already tried and failed to disrupt the airport with pointless strikes on some of our busiest days and we continue to build our strategies to protect travellers during any future action.

“The basic fact remains that the majority of colleagues do not support Unite’s strikes. There is a two-year inflation-beating pay raise waiting for colleagues, if only Unite will allow them to have a vote”.

They stated that efforts to resolve the conflict with Unite would continue.

The strike dates are:

June 24, 25, 28, 29, and 30 June 14, 15, 16, July 21, 22, 23, 24, July 28, 29, 30, 31 July 4, 5, 6, and 7; August 11, 12, 13, and 14; August 18, 19, and 20; and August 24, 25, 26, and 27.
Who is striking and what salary do they want?
The strikes come as Heathrow is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. The airport’s operator suffered a £139m deficit in the first three months of this year.

But Unite’s Sharon Graham said: “This is an incredibly wealthy company, which this summer is anticipating bumper profits and an executive pay bonanza”, adding that the airport had “got its priorities all wrong”.

Border Force staff at Heathrow who are members of the PCS union launched a number of different walkouts this year, causing the government to bring in military officers to staff entry gates.

Hundreds of thousands of workers in many UK businesses have been waging strikes since last summer.

Most are asking adjustments to terms and conditions and for pay to meet the cost of living, which is rising at its fastest rate in over 40 years.

There was mayhem at airports last summer as strikes and staff shortages coupled with a rise in demand for travel post-pandemic.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said on Wednesday that customers might anticipate more of the same.

“Delays, interruption and cancelations will be inevitable as a result of the strike action. But this disagreement is wholly of Heathrow Airport’s own creating.”


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