A Christmas strike

By | Category: Travel rumblings

At first sight, who will have any sympathy for people planning to strike over Christmas at Heathrow? The reason for the strike is a cut in pay which, the airport alleges, it needs to introduce as it has been hit hard by the pandemic.

panoramic view of Heathrow
Heathrow – will there be a strike there this Christmas?

In reply the union involved, Unite, says the airport doesn’t need to make salary cuts because it is sitting on enough cash. It says it has made suggestions to reduce staffing costs on a temporary basis but the airport has rejected all ideas.

Should a strike take place, the airport says it can provide sufficient cover.

Regardless of the arguments from either side, as an outsider I would suggest that any industrial action would probably not worry the airport too much. It can bring furloughed workers in for a few days. Ir, given passenger numbers will be a fraction of the normal Christmas rush, it can use non Unite staff to keep running.

Unite members want work to pay Christmas bills and the bills that they have faced this year. A strike will help none of the parties.

Has the Unite move been made because it looks as though all four governments will allow travel over Christmas? Although it hasn’t been formally announced, politicians seem anxious to find a way to let relatives meet and for people to have a respite from lockdown even if that means reintroducing lockdown measures of some sort in January or February.

Some people will certainly head abroad for Christmas if they can so that period could be Heathrow’s busiest. Does the union think that this will the best time to take on the airport? If so, I think they will get little support from the public and all that will happen, as I said, is that Heathrow might save some money.

Of course if there is no Christmas respite then the strike will have less of a an impact.

With over a month to go before a strike would happen, it leaves plenty of time for both sides to get together – that  is they want to.

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