Unite union's hypocritical campaign
Unite the union is pushing for the rapid destruction of whole communities to the north and west of Heathrow while simultaneously running a campaign insisting, "A Home is a Human Right".
The sheer hypocrisy of Unite the Union is breathtaking. Either the union has no comprehension of the destruction involved to build a third runway, including the need to force thousands of people from their homes, or they are hoping that everyone who reads their website is ignorant of the facts.
Unite's website says, "House prices are now 14 times the average salary and 600 families a day face losing their homes." Don't assume that sentence means the union has any real sympathy for people in this position. After all, those living under threat of a third runway have, in many cases, spent their entire working lives struggling to buy their own homes. Yet should the government approve a third runway, as Unite demands, 783 families would immediately face the loss of their homes. Thanks Unite! That is just the first demolition. Unite has made it clear it's not remotely bothered about those families or the other people who will face the same fate as construction progresses.
The "A Home is a Human Right" campaign blurb continues, "Private rents are spiralling and insecure tenancies are the main cause of homelessness as people become more vulnerable to rip-off landlords in an unregulated market." In reality Unite cares so little for tenants that it will happily promote the destruction of rental properties in Heathrow villages and then stand by while homeless tenants attempt to find alternative accommodation during a housing crisis. Yes, Unite says we have a "housing crisis" and that everyone is affected but what is the union doing about it? Unite stance on Heathrow expansion will add to the problem.
Come on Unite bosses, take a proper look around the airport (you've got offices opposite the northern runway) and see that many of the exploited tenants living in sub-standard beds in sheds and windowless outhouses have come into the area to look for airport-related work. By continuing your demands, which add to the housing blight, your union ensures a situation that depresses values and encourages greedy landlords to seek to profit from the desperation of others. While Heathrow Airport Limited is not in that category, it bought 238 homes in 2010/11 and charges rents that even its own workers often find impossible to pay.
Heathrow has said that 3,750 homes may be considered unliveable by its occupants if a third runway is built. Conservatively, that's about 10,000 people. All will be pushed out and are unlikely to find a comparable replacement property that they can afford.
The number of people living locally whose lives will be changed for the worst will be much greater. A line will be drawn with some properties left close to the new airport boundary but those living in them will have no option but to stay in an area where the noise and pollution will only increase.
No extra social housing is proposed for council tenants who are displaced. No local authority has yet said that it will prioritise the council tenants left without a home. If any authorities do, such as pro-runway Spelthorne, they will have to push their own residents to the back of the queue. Some council tenants may want to buy their home, if they can, to give themselves some control over where they might end up. Unite wants to end the Right To Buy because it believes people only buy to make a profit.
Some people buy a property to provide security and stability for their family but if a foreign-owned company wants the land and it can persuade the government of the day to support it, the human rights of people living in England are easily dismissed.