FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, June 5, 2018, a plane takes off over a road sign near Heathrow Airport in London. Heathrow Airport officials and union leaders are holding last-ditch talks in hopes of averting a strike at Europe’s busiest airport. Security guards, firefighters, engineers and drivers at Heathrow plan to go on strike at one minute after midnight if negotiations on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019 fail. The airport cancelled more than 170 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in preparation. Members of the union Unite have voted to reject an offer Heathrow officials said provided a 7.3% pay increase over 2½ years. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

Unions, Heathrow Airport hold talks to avert midnight strike

August 04, 2019 - 9:53 am

LONDON (AP) — Heathrow Airport officials and union leaders were holding last-ditch talks Sunday in hopes of averting a strike at Europe's busiest airport.

Security guards, firefighters, engineers and drivers at Heathrow plan to go on strike at one minute after midnight if the negotiations fail. The airport has already cancelled more than 170 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Heathrow says it will remain open during the strike, but security lines will likely be longer than normal. The London airport advised passengers to contact their airlines for updated flight information.

"While the vast majority of flights will be unaffected, some airlines are making arrangements to operate flights from other U.K. airports, others will be delaying flights and, unfortunately, a number will be cancelled," Heathrow said in a statement.

Members of the union Unite have rejected an offer that Heathrow officials said provided a 7.3% pay increase over 2½ years.

The union says it is focused on closing disparities between workers doing the same jobs and the "unacceptable" pay gap between its workers and Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye, who has a compensation package totaling 4.2 million pounds ($5.1 million).

"It takes Mr. Holland-Kaye around two days to earn what some of the lowest paid Heathrow workers earn in a year," the union said.

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