McDonnell speaks out over Heathrow's 'brutal' treatment of workers

Updated: Feb 14

In September, with air travel 80% down due to COVID 19, Heathrow told around 4,000 long serving frontline staff to accept a permanent pay cut of 15-20% or face job losses.

Through Unite the Union, the workers (firefighters, engineers, operations, security and baggage staff) have sought to resist this proposal. Earlier this month they voted to strike

for four days in the lead up to Christmas.

This week in Parliament, John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, spoke out against Heathrow’s plans:

Companies like BA and Heathrow Ltd have seen the pandemic as a crisis not to be wasted, an opportunity to secure long-held ambitions to reduce wage levels and withdraw hard-won benefits of terms of employment of years.

Many of these employees feel that they’ve been treated like Chattels rather than loyal employees over decades. Although the pandemic may well be with us for the next year in some form, with the potential of effective vaccines in sight, COVID is likely to have a relatively temporary effect, that’s why the aviation trade unions were willing, indeed proposed, a number of temporary measures, including temporary reductions in wages and job numbers to tide us through the pandemic. Instead, Heathrow Airport Limited and British Airways are demanding permanent pay cuts, and the permanent erosion of conditions on employment.

This has provoked such anger, palpable anger, amongst workers at Heathrow and ….. are now facing a strike before Christmas, an unnecessary strike, if only management would recognise their responsibilities"

He concluded:

And whether its Heathrow’s brutal treatment of my constituents, or Rolls Royce’s appalling treatment of the Barnoldswick community, we must all call upon these companies now to withdraw their threats to their employees, and get back round the table to negotiate a sensible way forward

The strike by Heathrow’s workers is planned for 1st, 14th, 17th and 18th December.

Cover Photo Credit: Gary Knight. Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication


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