The Workers Party of Britain denounces Heathrow management for using the pandemic as a pretext for attacking the living standards of the 4,000 workers whose jobs are crucial to the safe and efficient running of this international airport, including firefighters, baggage handlers, security workers, engineers and operational and airside workers.
Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is trying to force through a punitive new contract cutting wages by as much as 25%.
In an attempt to browbeat workers, management is “inviting” individual workers to take the hot seat at one-to-one meetings, where the worker will have to choose between four options: to take a paltry lump-sum bribe and sign up to the new contract right away; sign up to accept the new contract over two years; take “voluntary” severance; or get the sack outright.
Al Capone would feel right at home with this ‘offer you can’t refuse’ gangsterism.
HAL’s campaign to slash its labour costs is driven by greed for future profits, not need. Owned by a consortium of sovereign wealth and pension funds, HAL announced at the beginning of the first lockdown that it was sitting on capital of £3.2 billion – not that this ever stopped it from supplementing this with furlough subsidies from the public purse.
Heathrow will still be around after Covid, but if HAL gets its way, it will be run by a depleted, underpaid and demoralised workforce, ill-prepared to serve the needs of the travelling public.
Faced with HAL’s plan to isolate and intimidate workers, the workforce have chosen to fight back collectively, with 85% voting to take industrial action. Workers will be striking on a number of days in December, and they deserve support both from their fellow workers and from the travelling public.
The Workers Party of Britain gives its full support for the striking workers and stands ready to help in any way it can.