Updated: Feb 20
Heathrow sold its expansion plans to surrounding communities through its promise to create decent, long-term jobs. Now, through their plan to make 500 passenger ambassadors redundant, they are now doing the precise opposite: destroying hundreds of good, living wage jobs, and harming communities by throwing families out in the cold during a pandemic.
Known by their purple uniforms, Heathrow’s Passenger Ambassadors are responsible for providing one-to-one assistance to passengers navigating the airport, helping them complete passport and security controls, managing queues, and assisting passengers to connecting flights. In addition to this, during the pandemic, many of the Ambassadors have gone above and beyond their normal roles in order to keep the airport safe.
Despite all this, Heathrow management have made the brutal decision to ditch the Ambassador service, resulting in nearly 500 job losses: this is in spite of the fact that Heathrow have more than enough money to keep the staff on. In May, Heathrow told investors that its £3.2bn liquidity is “sufficient to maintain the business at least over the next 12 months, even with no passengers”.
The decision has been criticised by the Ambassador’s Union representatives who have warned the decision will impact Heathrow’s ability to provide quality customer service in the future. They have also accused Heathrow of hypocrisy: priding themselves as a socially responsible employer whilst cutting hundreds of jobs in the middle of a pandemic.
One ambassador, Jose Martins said: 'I have worked hard representing Heathrow for many years. All of a sudden Heathrow said they don't need us. This is all a big shock. They say they don't have enough money to pay us. Where is all the billions they made over the years?’
Currently, with their Trade Union Unite, the Ambassadors are calling on Heathrow to reverse their decision. Further, a group of Heathrow Passengers are calling on the public to sign a petition to the CEO John Holland-Kaye asking him to keep the airport safe and ensure the Ambassador’s jobs are protected.