Staff at Heathrow Airport have been warned they could be out of a job unless they accept a ‘voluntary’ pay cut during the coronavirus crisis.

The airport’s chief people officer told employees there would be ‘consequences’ for anyone refusing to take a 15% pay reduction. In a memo seen by Sky News, Paula Stannett said: ‘We are looking for everyone to play their part and are not expecting anyone to opt out, other than those who are leaving us very shortly through redundancy.

‘There will be consequences if colleagues do not accept the revised terms as it will mean that we have to make further job cuts. It will also have consequences for those colleagues who do not wish to participate.’

Ms Stannett then went on to say those who do not accept the pay reduction would be offered ‘furlough followed by voluntary severance’. She continued on to say that for colleagues who continue to refuse, ‘dismissal and reinstatement might be the final step’.

She continued: ‘Obviously that is something I am keen to avoid, although I can confirm that is an option that is legally available to the company to take.’

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It is thought reinstated staff will be on inferior employment terns than they had before, Sky reports.

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Heathrow has already imposed a 10% pay cut on unionised staff, while around a quarter of senior managers are expected to be made redundant.

The airport has already begun scaling back its operation as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the aviation industry.

In February, the airport stated that it had experienced a -5% fall in passenger traffic, while the numbers for March are expected to be much worse. Last week the decision was made to close one of its runways, due to the lack of flights coming in and out of the country.

The Foreign Office is currently warning against all non-essential global travel indefinitely. A travel ban, announced on March 17, had previously been implemented for an 30 day-period until April 16.

A spokesperson said this advice was changed due to the ‘rapidly changing situation’, as travellers could face severe disruption due to other countries lockdown measures.

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