STRIKES could bring Heathrow airport to a standstill by Christmas after bosses attacked the wages and conditions of thousands of workers.
The Unite union is balloting on strike action over “bullying” plans by employers to cut pay and inflict financial punishment on anyone taking industrial action.
The security staff, firefighters, airfield operators and engineers targeted have overwhelmingly voted to reject new terms and conditions, including reduced holiday pay.
Accusing Heathrow bosses of “making every worker poorer,” Unite warned that a strike would cause travel chaos for passengers over the busy Christmas period and affect hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo.
Voting opens next Wednesday and closes on October 18.
Unite official Wayne King said: “Instead of ‘making every journey better,’ Heathrow is ‘making every worker poorer’ in its bullying bid to cheat staff out of their full holiday pay and [make] cuts to long-standing terms and conditions.
“We are deeply disappointed that, despite many months of trying to settle this dispute, including at the conciliation service Acas, HAL [Heathrow Airport Ltd] has flatly rejected several of the union’s reasonable proposals.
“This has left us with no option but to proceed to a full industrial action ballot now.”
Mr King said that, with over 94 per cent voting to reject the changes, members had sent a very clear message that they would not be bullied into accepting a shoddy offer that left them out of pocket.
The airport would “grind to a halt” if a strike took place, he added.
HAL was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.