More than 1,400 security guards employed at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 will strike over the Easter break.

It comes after workers in the Unite union rejected a 10 per cent pay increase. The union has said it is in effect a pay cut, with the latest RPI inflation rate standing at 13.8 per cent.

The planned strike action is forcing British Airways to cancel more than 300 flights.

When are the Heathrow Airport strikes?

Security staff who are members of the Unite union will walk out for 10 days from Friday 31 March until Sunday 9 April. The strike coincides with the Easter holidays, with most schools breaking up on Friday 31 March and returning on Monday 17 April.

How many flights will be affected?

Unite has said the walkout will cause severe delays. Thousands of passengers will be affected and Heathrow has asked all airlines operating from the airport to stop selling seats for flights scheduled to operate during the strike period.

Terminal Five is used exclusively by British Airways and security guards who are responsible for checking all cargo that enters the airport.

British Airways will cancel around 32 flights per day – the equivalent of five per cent of its flights to and from Heathrow over the Easter weekend – due to the strike action.

A spokesman for the airline said: “Following Heathrow’s requirement for us to reduce the number of passengers travelling during the period of its employees’ proposed strike action, we’ve regrettably had to make a small number of adjustments to our schedule.”

How else will passengers be impacted?

On strike days, passengers will only be allowed to travel through security with two items of hand luggage (handbags and laptop bags count as a piece of carry-on baggage). Travellers are urged to be ready for security with liquids and electronics already out of their hand luggage.

Heathrow’s VIP suite will be closed to departing passengers on strike days.

Anyone travelling between 31 March and 9 April is encouraged to arrive at the airport for their flight no earlier than two hours before departure time for short haul, and three hours for long haul.

Why are airport staff striking?

The staff are involved in a dispute over pay. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said employees at the UK’s biggest airport were on poverty wages.

Ms Graham said: “Workers at Heathrow Airport are on poverty wages while the chief executive and senior managers enjoy huge salaries. It is the airport’s workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair pay increase.

“Our members are simply unable to make ends meet due to the low wages paid by Heathrow. They are being forced to take strike action due to need not greed.”

Talks between unions and Heathrow took place last week but they failed to avert the walkout.

What action is Heathrow Airport taking?

Heathrow has announced a number of measures to mitigate the disruption and keep the airport functioning.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We will not let these unnecessary strikes impact the hard-earned holidays of our passengers. Our contingency plans will keep the airport operating as normal throughout.

“We are deploying 1,000 additional colleagues and the entire management team, who will be in the terminals providing assistance to passengers over the busy Easter getaway.

“As at any busy time, it may take a little longer than usual to get through security, but this will be well managed and kept flowing.

“Passengers can help us ensure they get the best start to their journeys by checking their flight status with their airline before travelling to the airport, arriving at Heathrow no earlier than two hours before short-haul flights and three hours before long-haul flights, and by being ready for security with their compliant liquids and electronics out of their hand luggage.”

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