Staff at Britain’s busiest airport, who are not members of the union, were told in a memo from the company to accept a 15% reduction in wages, otherwise “the dismissal or reinstatement could be the last step. “
The message was sent to thousands of staff by Paula Stannett, the airport’s general manager, who warned workers that the company expected “everyone to play their part.”
Stannett wrote: “There will be consequences if colleagues do not accept the revised terms as this will mean that we have to make further layoffs. This will also have consequences for colleagues who do not wish to participate. “
Unite union members employed by London Airport, including security guards and firefighters, have already agreed to a 10% cut in wages for nine months.
Heathrow reported a significant drop in passenger numbers in February and March, and said demand has continued to drop. The amount of cargo transiting through Heathrow also decreased during this period, as the virus affected world trade.
Transportation Minister Chris Heaton-Harris told MPs on Tuesday that air traffic volumes for MPs were down 92% from a year ago.
The airport blamed a drop in demand for Asian and European routes, regions where airlines have significantly reduced or discontinued flights due to the pandemic. It closed two of its four terminals and a runway.
A Heathrow spokesman said the company was trying to cut its cost base by cutting executive pay, freezing hiring and examining all investment plans.
“Heathrow prioritizes job protection while striving to keep Britain’s gateway open safely to those in need of repatriation and vital medical supplies needed during this crisis,” said the spokesperson.
“It is perfectly normal that similar wage cuts are taken into account by everyone in the company as we fight to limit as many jobs in the future and play our part to protect as many colleagues as possible.” “