Employees working for airline and airport solutions provider Omniserv at Heathrow, and who are members of trade union GMB, are to receive the London living wage no later than February 2020.
The London living wage, covering all boroughs of Greater London, is currently set at £10.55 per hour, compared to the UK living wage of £9.00. The living wage is a voluntary minimum level calculated every year to meet the real cost of living, separate from the legal minimum wage, currently set at £8.21.
GMB reported on 24 September 2019 that its members working for Omniserv across all terminals at Heathrow Airport will receive the London living wage by February 2020 at the latest.
This follows GMB members’ rejection in July 2019 of a 3.25% pay increase for those in roles currently receiving the national living wage, which the union reported would amount to 26p more per hour for each individual. This was followed by an offer of a 28p per hour increase in September 2019.
Since this offer was made, however, Omniserv has advised GMB that its passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) contract in Terminal 5 of the airport will be being taken over by security, construction logistics and aviation services provider Wilson James. At this point, Omniserv has pledged to pay its staff the London living wage.
The takeover of the contract by Wilson James is currently set to occur on 19 November 2019. If this is pushed back to December, Omniserv has confirmed that employees will receive the pay increase in their January payslips. If dates continue to be moved, all of the organisation’s PRM contracts at Heathrow will shift to the London living wage as a minimum by February 2020.
Trevlyn McLeod, regional organiser at GMB, said: “We are absolutely ecstatic about the London living wage coming into fruition at Heathrow, a campaign GMB [has] been driving for the last [three] years.
“We have worked hard to get Heathrow Airport to start getting our members paid a decent wage at Heathrow, who, as shameful as it is, are still on the minimum wage even after some of our members have been in these [organisations] for 20 or more years.
“It’s hard to see our members work double [or] triple shifts just to make ends meet, and [at] the other end of the scale you get Heathrow Airport paying its shareholders millions in profits.
“We are extremely happy for our members, who finally will be able to reap some of these [employers’] profits for all the hard work they do, and can spend time with their families, not worrying so desperately that they are not making enough money to pay their bills at the end of the month.
“We still have a way to go getting the balance right in our members pay scales, but the mountain does not seem that high any more.”
Omniserv was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.