Heathrow transport staff strike again this weekend

Heathrow transport staff strike again this weekend

20 June 2014

RMT Press Office

Heathrow transport staff strike again this weekend as Terminal Five station closes and bosses jack up attacks

Strike action in a dispute on Heathrow Express over jobs and safety this morning led to the closure of the prestige transport hub at Terminal Five as the company management sank to new lows in their bullying and attacks on individual staff fighting to stop the halving of safety-critical numbers in a £6 million cuts assault.

RMT laid the blame for the action and the associated disruption firmly at the door of Heathrow Express after the company sabotaged ACAS talks and resorted to issuing blanket threats to sack hundreds of staff if they don’t call off their fight over a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety.

As well as threatening staff with termination, the company have now resorted to ripping up existing working arrangements, unilaterally banning a well-established shift swapping arrangement, in an attempt to demoralise staff and to try and bully the workforce into a position where work/life balance means nothing. The union is fighting the attack on agreements which is an entirely separate matter from the current dispute but has been thrown in by HEX management purely to intimidate their staff.

Two days of talks at ACAS were effectively wrecked by Heathrow Express who refused to consider any proposals put forward by RMT negotiators, walked away before the talks had concluded and treated the entire negotiating process with nothing but contempt.

The current strike period ends later today but the next wave of action kicks off in the early hours of Sunday morning, with members instructed not to book on for any shifts between;

03:00 hours on Sunday 22nd June 2014 to 02:59 hours on Monday 23rd June 2014.

As well as the shutdown of Terminal Five, and the complete closure of Heathrow Connect, the HEX management are only running around half the skeleton services that they promised the public as the strike remains solidly supported across the company. The closure at Terminal Five has led to a barrage of complaints from passengers.

The resolve of the RMT members has been reinforced by the sordid management tactic of threatening to start sacking workers involved in the action and pumping out fictitious timetables to the public while safety is compromised, and regulations twisted, to fuel publicity stunts which include highly paid managers dressing up as real HEX staff for the benefit of the cameras.

RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Heathrow Express sabotaged the ACAS talks aimed at resolving this dispute and have now issued the most outrageous and provocative blanket threat to start sacking staff and rip up agreements if they don’t call off the fight for jobs and safety on this lucrative and prestigious transport link. The atmosphere has been poisoned at Heathrow Express by an aggressive and bullying anti-union management and it is about time that the airport authorities woke up to what’s happening on their turf and the damage that it is doing to Heathrow’s reputation.

“The Heathrow Express staff provide an essential service out to one of the world’s busiest airports and yet the company have resorted to treating them like dirt. It is an outrage that exposes this company for the anti-union, greedy and callous bunch that they are.

“Our representatives put forward a viable framework for resolving this dispute and it wasn’t even considered by HEX who treated the entire ACAS process with contempt and that is why we are back out on strike next week. It is entirely down to the company that journeys and services will be disrupted.

“The Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services are dealing with growing demand as the airport expands and the idea that safety and service is going to be sacrificed at the stroke of an accountant’s pen would shame London and leave these high-profile services extremely vulnerable. The CAA themselves have warned that the staffing cuts are a false economy which will hit revenues as service quality drops through the floor.

“The removal of on board staff, and the driving forwards of Driver Only Operation, would render services inherently unsafe and make evacuation in the wake of an emergency incident or terrorist alert an absolute nightmare.

“The planned axing of jobs, and the associated freezing and hacking back of pay and working conditions, is a kick in the teeth for the staff who have made Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect the success story that they are today. The staff have stood up and been counted and it is down to company to halt the cuts plans and start talking seriously about a safe and secure future for this vital London transport link.”

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Tagged with: Heathrow Express, Strike Action