Heathrow Airport ‘could axe up to 1,200 jobs’ as coronavirus pandemic hits...

Heathrow Airport ‘could axe up to 1,200 jobs’ as coronavirus pandemic hits profits


Heathrow Airport could axe around 1,200 jobs as the coronavirus pandemic hits aviation profits.

The west London hub has started consulting with unions over substantial pay cuts and reduced pensions in a process which could lead to redundancies.

The airport said in a statement that its offer to unions “guarantees a job” for anyone who wants to remain with the business.

Around 4,700 workers across engineering, air-side operations and security roles are affected by the consultation process.

Heathrow’s plan involves around half having their salary reduced by approximately 15-20 per cent.

If no agreement with the union is reached, then 1,200 job cuts could be implemented, according to Sky News.

Heathrow has already reduced its managerial roles by a third, and in June launched a voluntary redundancy scheme.

The airport said in a statement: “Covid-19 has decimated the aviation industry, which has led to an unprecedented drop in passenger numbers at Heathrow, costing the airport over £1 billion since the start of March.

“Provisional traffic figures for August show passenger numbers remain 82 per cent down on last year and we must urgently adapt to this new reality.

“Discussions with our unions have taken place over four months and our final offer is informed by feedback we have received from them.

Travellers exit Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 in August. It comes as coronavirus cases rise in Portugal (Getty Images)

“But with air travel showing little sign of recovery, these discussions cannot go on indefinitely and we must act now to prevent our situation from worsening.

“We have now started a period of formal consultation with our unions on our offer, which still guarantees a job at the airport for anyone who wishes to stay with our business.”

Heathrow has called on the Government to allow passengers arriving from countries not on the quarantine exemption list to pay for coronavirus testing on arrival, to give them the chance to reduce the 14-day self-isolation period.

Unite officer Wayne King said: “Heathrow Airport Ltd’s (HAL’s) actions are extremely unhelpful and further undermine confidence in the industry.

The industry has been decimated by the pandemic (PA)

“Our members have worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. To conduct industrial relations via the media in such a brutish manner is designed to create fear and panic in a group of key workers.

“HAL’s actions have made already difficult negotiations even more fraught.

“Unite is currently balloting its members on the proposals. HAL’s actions demonstrate that it is not prepared to allow democracy to run its course.

“At a time when Unite is working hard to persuade the Government to follow the lead of other European nations and provide specific financial support to the aviation sector to ensure that the industry and workers can survive the pandemic and thrive in the future, these actions are distinctly unhelpful.

“It should not be forgotten that HAL is an incredibly wealthy company. At the start of the pandemic it boasted of a £3.2 billion war chest. These attacks in pay are not about survival, but introducing measures to boost future profits.

“Unite urges HAL to withdraw this ill-judged attack on its loyal workforce and to return to the negotiating table as had been previously agreed.”

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