Among the HLC's many campaigns, we fought to keep the Tories out of the Heathrow constituencies in the General Election


Unite and the HLC have been involved in many campaigns to protect jobs and conditions at Heathrow - some successfully, some unsuccessfully and some of which are still being fought.

Airport development
Unite supported plans to develop Heathrow, as this would have created many new jobs and given protection to many existing jobs. Unite took this position despite it being unpopular with many local residents because there were so many jobs at stake.
When the HLC was formed, we took on the task of promoting the Unite position. We wrote to and met with various local politicians and we went to Parliament to meet with Alan Keen MP. The HLC's Danny Freeman and Jon Purdom also visited the Twickenham Labour Party's constituency meeting to explain why expansion was necessary to the local economy and why the proposals for alternatives such as an airport in the Thames estuary and high speed rail links were not affordable and could not meet the needs of the travelling public.

Unite 4 our NHS
Following a meeting with local MP John McDonnell and the government having succeeded with pushing the first reading of the Health snd Social Care Bill through parliament, the HLC believe that at least one of our local hospitals is likely to face closure. This will affect the health care of many thousands of local people and see the loss of many jobs. This will probably be a major campaign in 2011 for all trade unionists.

2010 General Election
When the Tories made it part of their election agenda to block the 3rd runway, we got involved in the campaign for Labour. Despite the Tories winning enough votes to form a coalition government and the loss of Brentford and Isleworth - there were some Labour successes at the last election - most notably holding Feltham and Heston and even winning back control of the local council. This was a constituency that Unite and the HLC had put in a special effort to hold, by writing to every Unite member and warning them of the dangers of a Tory government.
We also issued our own leaflets at various locations across the airport and wrote to local papers as well as some of us canvassing or leafleting on behalf of Labour candidates in local constituencies. We are sorry to say that at present it looks as though our worst fears about the Tories are already coming true.

Workers Memorial Day
In 2009 the government issued a consultation document on Workers Memorial Day and the HLC wrote to the government with a set of proposals to officially recognise the day. This is now officially recognised, but at present no additional rights have been given to workers who wish to commemorate it.
Gaining the right to hold a minutes silence, wear the purple ribbon or to have this day made a bank holiday will be extremely difficult now that there has been a change of government, but we will continue to lobby. We will continue to commemorate Workers Memorial Day on behalf of those workers who have been killed or seriously injured at Heathrow and elsewhere and are arranging to have a small memorial garden built at Unite's office in New Road (next to the Marriott Hotel, just off the Bath Road).

Pack Less/Lighten the Load
Pack Less (which was renamed from Lighten the Load because this translated better in a number of European Languages) is an ongoing campaign to bring in a legal restriction on bag weights. Aviation workers are five times more likely to suffer a strain injury than the national average and this is mostly due to handling passengers' bags and items of cargo.
National Governments and the European Parliament are fully aware of the excessive number of injuries, bu have been reluctant to bring in laws that might protect airport workers because of pressure from the employers.
The HLC has been fighting this campaign since we were formed - and whilst we have not yet been successful, it has been enormously useful to us in that it has brought us into contact with trade unionists from countries across Europe and even as far as Brazil that have common concerns about their members' safety. HLC members have twice met with a sub-committee of the EU parliament and have been asked to speak on behalf of the European Transport Workers Federation in Brussels in October. Report to follow next month.