Workers of London’s Heathrow Airport plan 4-day strike in December

The staff of the Heathrow Airport in London are planning a four-day strike in December in protest at wage cuts, local media reported Wednesday.

Union members, including firefighters, engineers and campus security, have voted in support of the industrial action at Britain’s busiest airport, planning to stop work for 24 hours on Dec. 1 and Dec. 14, with a 48-hour pre-Christmas stoppage on Dec. 17-18.

The Unite union said the strike “will effectively close the airport”, while the airport said it will keep operating despite the walk-out.

Heathrow warned earlier that due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has cost the airport more than 1 billion pounds (about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars), it plans to cut pay from 15 percent to 20 percent, affecting about half of the 4,700 airport staff in engineering, air-side operations and security.

According to the union, the airport has enough cash to survive without demanding cuts.

“The airport is using the COVID-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to permanently cut workers’ pay,” said the union’s regional coordinating officer Wayne King.

British airports have faced a difficult year with passenger numbers plummeting due to coronavirus — numbers were down 82 percent last month, and are expecting to be even worse this month due to the lockdown, local media reported.

To bring life back to normal, countries, such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States, are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.