HEATHROW staff have vowed to shut the airport through strike action in response to bosses’ seeking 37% pay cuts.

In early May the airport announced a war chest of £3.2billion and boasted it could survive without a flight landing or taking off for a year.

And two months earlier Heathrow paid its shareholders – including the Qatari royal family – a dividend of £100million.

But now the UK’s biggest airport has threatened to fire and re-hire staff on lower wages if unions don’t accept their proposals – sparking accusations it is “callously using the coronavirus pandemic to boost profits like British Airways”.

Heathrow, which made £413m profits last year, has proposed ending its final salary pension scheme while removing paid breaks and allowances for staff.

Plans include weakening workers’ redundancy agreement, not paying staff for the first three days of sickness and refusing to implement a 4% wage hike agreed months ago.

One security guard told The Sun on Sunday: “During the pandemic, we have been classed as key workers, coming in everyday to ensure Britain is always moving, putting our family at risk of the deadly virus.

“Now this from our management, and it stinks. If we do not agree to the new terms that Heathrow are proposing they have threatened to fire and re-hire everyone and the new contract will be on their terms.”

The airport has already made 500 managers redundant, and is now looking to cut 1,800 further posts from 5,500 frontline staff. Unite has accused Heathrow of being about “greed, not power”.

The union represents workers employed in security, engineering, the fire service, passenger services and air-side operations.

Unite officer Wayne King said: “These are not well paid workers as it is but they have worked extremely hard to make Heathrow the highly profitable airport that it is today.

“To attack their pay and conditions in this way and at under the cover of the public health crisis is a disgraceful act from a business with billions in the bank.

“Heathrow does not need to make these cuts permanent they want to.

"This is about pure greed and not need. Unite has tried to negotiate an acceptable compromise but these have been rejected outright.”

Heathrow Airport Limited has refused to budget and is seeking voluntary redundancies from frontline staff.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye, said, “Throughout this crisis, we have tried to protect front line jobs, but this is no longer sustainable, and we have now agreed a voluntary severance scheme with our union partners.

"While we cannot rule out further job reductions, we will continue to explore options to minimise the number of job losses.”

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