Heathrow security staff call off strikes

International Arrivals

Heathrow airport security staff have called off strikes after voting to accept a pay offer.

Around 2,000 members of the Unite union were due to strike on 29 days throughout summer.

Unite staff at the airport had already said they would postpone industrial action on 24 and 25 June.

The union said that workers had voted to accept a pay increase worth between 15.5% and 17.5% depending on their band.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are pleased to confirm Unite members have voted to accept a two-year above-inflation pay deal, ending the current dispute and allowing the strikes to be called off.

“We can now move forward together and focus on delivering an excellent summer for our passengers.”

Strikes during the summer period when many UK schools are on a break would potentially have been disruptive and led to queues at airport security.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said it was a “hard won victory”.

The offer includes a 10% increase in pay – backdated to January – rising to 11.5% in October, and an increase in line with inflation in 2024, with a minimum uplift of 4%. Unite said that “spot rates, salary ranges and formal pay progression will increase when the pay increase is implemented”.

Unite added the deal also included improved maternity and paternity benefits.

Earlier in June, Heathrow security officers at Terminals 3 and 5 said they would walk out for 31 days in the summer after turning down a pay offer of 10.1%, which they said was “below inflation”.

Inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index is now at 8.7%, but another measure – the Retail Prices Index – stood at 11.3% in the year to May.

Workers in several industries across the UK have been taking industrial action, mainly over demands for pay to stay in line with the soaring cost of living.

Extensive walkouts by rail staff have continued since 2022, and industrial action has also led to walkouts by those including nurses, junior doctors, Border Force staff and civil servants.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said: “The solidarity and dedication of Unite’s reps and members was fundamental in ensuring HAL [Heathrow Airport] returned to the negotiating table with an improved offer”.

Heathrow security staff working at Terminal 5 had walked out for 10 days in April during the Easter holiday period, although the airport said it had suffered “minimal” disruption.