Security guards at London's Heathrow airport have announced plans to wage an eight-day strike in May, expected to cause major delays for travelers attending King Charles III's upcoming coronation.
Announcing the strike action, the Unite union said some 1,400 security officers will stage a new work stoppage at Heathrow's Terminal 5 on May 4-6, 9-10 and 25-27, further warning of “inevitable disruption and delays,” as the initial strike will coincide with travelers intending to take part in British king's coronation festivities on May 6.
“Our members have been crystal clear they are seeking a substantial permanent increase in pay,” Unite regional officer Wayne King said of his members' dispute with Heathrow.
“A small one-off lump sum payment will not alleviate the financial pressures our members are facing on a daily basis,” King said adding that the airport has shown a ‘stubborn refusal’ to make an offer that meets the union members’ expectations.
The airport's management insists they have been engaged in talks with Unite for months and had improved a 10 percent pay rise offer with a further £1,150 lump sum this year, but claims that the union has failed to put this revised offer to their members.
“Each day that Unite refuses to allow members to vote on the 10% pay increase and a £1,150 lump sum payment is a day that costs colleagues money they deserve now,” airport’s spokesman said.
The union's general secretary, Sharon Graham, said, “We have a chief executive who thinks it is acceptable to boost his earnings while he denies his own workers a decent pay rise.”
“This dispute is bound to escalate with more workers being balloted and disruption set to continue throughout the summer,” Graham added.
Security guards at Heathrow also took part in a 10-day walkout over Easter which involved officers at Terminal 5 - which is used exclusively by British Airways - and campus security guards who are responsible for checking all cargo that enters the airport.
A Heathrow spokesperson said that they will not disrupt the flow of visitors to the UK during King Charles’ coronation which is an important period for the country.
“We kept Heathrow running smoothly during the first 10 days of Unite's failed industrial action, and passengers can have confidence that we will do so again this time,” the spokesperson added.
In other developments, Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members in all passport offices across the UK will walk out from 2 to 6 May in a row over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and jobs.
Nearly 2,000 passport examiners are already taking part in a rolling strike, but the new announcement means a further 1,000 staff - including interview officers and those in administrative and anti-fraud roles - will also take part.
The announcement comes on the same day Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed UK inflation held stubbornly above 10 percent last month, further fueling the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.
The UK economy has been grappling with record-high inflation during recent months, Which has prompted strike action by various public and private sector workers, from nurses to port workers, , as the double digit inflation rates of the past year spark demands for increased wages.
Adding to the current pressure on people, the government has announced its new plan to end the Energy Price Guarantee scheme, which will withdraw the government’s financial support for energy bills.