First round of London Heathrow Airport summer strikes are suspended

First round of London Heathrow Airport summer strikes are suspended

June 12, 2023

First round of Heathrow summer strikes are suspended as 2,000 workers consider improved pay offer

  • Members of the Unite union were expected to walk out on June 24 and 25 
  • But first two of 31 days of action in a dispute over pay have been called off 

The first strike by more than 2,000 security guards at London Heathrow Airport due to take place later this month has been called off, union bosses confirmed today.

Members of the Unite union were expected to walk out on June 24 and 25 in the first of 31 days of action in a dispute over pay which is set to run until August 27.

But Unite confirmed today that Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) had made an improved pay offer and the initial strikes were called off ‘as a gesture of goodwill by the union’.

The first of the remaining 29 strike days will now be June 28, 29 and 30. There is also scheduled action on July 14-16, 21-24, 28-31 and August 4-7, 11-14, 18-20 and 24-27.

Unite’s regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said today: ‘Following extensive negotiations last week a new offer was put forward by HAL. 

Passengers queue at security at London Heathrow on June 22 last year amid staff shortages

This was the original plan for Unite’s strikes – but June 24 and 25 have now been cancelled

‘Members will now be balloted on the latest offer and they will decide whether or not it meets their expectations.’

Full list of strike days by Heathrow security staff in summer 2023

CANCELLED (2 days)

  • June 24
  • June 25


  • June 28
  • June 29
  • June 30
  • July 14
  • July 15
  • July 16
  • July 21
  • July 22
  • July 23
  • July 24
  • July 28
  • July 29
  • July 30
  • July 31
  • August 4
  • August 5
  • August 6
  • August 7
  • August 11
  • August 12
  • August 13
  • August 14
  • August 18
  • August 19
  • August 20
  • August 24
  • August 25
  • August 26
  • August 27

For the first time, security officers based at Terminal 3 are expected to join their colleagues from Terminal 5 and campus security who have already taken industrial action. 

More than 42,600 flights are set to depart Heathrow over the three-month strike window from June 24 to August 27, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.

Its data also revealed more than 20,000 flights are scheduled to leave Heathrow on strike days – 3,241 in June, 7,166 in July and 9,756 in August. 

This means 4.4million seats have been put at risk by the action, nearly half of which fall in August alone.

Many of the strike dates at Britain’s biggest airport – which were announced on June 7 – fall over weekends in late June, July and August.

They include the Muslim festival of Eid in late June and schools finishing for summer in July, and mark a dramatic escalation of the union’s bitter dispute with the airport after 18 days of walkouts so far.

Today, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye insisted strikes by the security guards this time are unlikely to cause flight cancellations. 

He said: ‘We have delivered excellent service to passengers, with no cancellations, over eight days of strikes on the busiest days in May, and do not anticipate cancellations as a result of strikes during the summer holiday getaway.’

British Airways cancelled around 5 per cent of its schedule at Heathrow during strikes over the Easter holiday period, but no flights were grounded due to walkouts during last month’s half-term break. 

During previous strikes, the airport’s contingency plans have included deploying office staff to assist passengers at security checkpoints.

Last week, Mr Holland-Kaye urged Unite to put the airport’s latest proposal of a 10 pre cent pay increase and £1,150 lump sum to a vote of its members as ‘we know that most of our colleagues would accept the offer that we have on the table’.

The union previously said its members have been ‘crystal clear they are seeking a substantial permanent increase in pay’.

Passengers queue at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 during last year’s Easter getaway on April 15

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye has said the strikes are unlikely to cause cancellations

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has said security staff at Heathrow ‘can barely make ends meet and are paid far less than workers at other airports’.

Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: ‘While it’s encouraging that Heathrow says it is putting contingency plans in place to minimise disruption during the forthcoming strikes, those with flights booked over this period are still likely to be concerned.

‘It’s essential that the airport and airlines work together to keep travellers updated, and fulfil their legal obligations to passengers in the event of cancellations or delays.

‘Travellers should also ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance from the date they book their trip and check the policy carefully: not all will cover them in the event of strikes by airline or airport staff, for example.’

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