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Heathrow Airport strikes 2024: full list of May and June dates and airlines affected

A three-day strike by hundreds of Border Force staff starts today

Annie McNamee
Written by
Annie McNamee

Striking transport workers are now as much a part of British culture as complaining about the weather or grabbing a cup of tea to kill time at work. So, it won’t surprise you to find out that Heathrow airport is also at the centre of more industrial action. 

Today (May 31), Border Force workers who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have begun a three-day walkout. The PCS says over 500 members are taking action, who work on passport control at Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5. 

Worried about Heathrow’s latest strikes disrupting your travel plans? Here’s everything you need to know about strike action at Heathrow. 

RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about train strikes in the UK.

When are the Heathrow border strikes?

The strike has started today (May 31) and will last until Sunday June 2. 

Hundreds of members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 are walking out, likely causing longer queues and delays at passport control. 

When are Heathrow’s refuelling workers striking?

Refuelling staff were supposed to strike for 72 hours from May 4-6. This action has now been called off. 

Which airlines will be affected by the Heathrow strikes?

It isn’t so much individual airlines that’ll be impacted by the strike but all travellers on all airlines. The industrial action will hit passport control, causing longer queues especially for those arriving at Heathrow. 

Why are Heathrow workers striking?

Border force workers downed tools to protest proposed job cuts and roster changes from the Home Office. The PCS says 250 staff face losing their jobs or being moved to other work against their wishes. 

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said: ‘We call on all trade unionists and the public to support this petition and tell Border Force management to scrap this unwelcome and unworkable roster that has already caused misery to our members.

‘PCS has repeatedly called for more flexibility in the new roster but management has refused to listen.

‘Until they do, and they put forward proposals to improve the roster, then the dispute will continue.’

Can I get compensation if a flight is affected by strikes?

Because the upcoming strikes are from airport employees (not airline staff), airlines do not have to pay out compensation if flights are delayed or cancelled.

For cancelled flights, airlines have a duty to either offer an alternative flight or offer a refund. 

For delays of two hours or more (for short-haul flights, the delay has to be longer for longer-haul routes), airlines have a duty of care to provide things like refreshments and a means of communication (Wi-Fi, internet data etc). 

Is the Heathrow Express affected by the strikes?

The Heathrow Express isn’t expected to be impacted by any of the strike action at Heathrow. 

What’s been said about the strikes?

The border force strikes are protesting working terms and conditions, specifically a new roster system. The PCS says that the new system will cause jobs to be lost or changed, and that remaining Border Force members will face longer shifts, inflexible shift-swapping rules and no clarity on booking leave.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘We are disappointed with the union’s decision to strike but remain open to discussing a resolution with PCS Union.’

Eyes on the skies

At Time Out we keep an eye on all things British aviation. For instance, did you see that that the UK’s most delayed flight routes have been revealed? Or that Ryanair is launching six new holiday routes from Bristol Airport? We’ve also updated you on how air traffic control shortages could cause chaos this summer, and why the 100ml rule won’t be scrapped this year.

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