Gatwick airport: Holiday chaos as workers announce eight days of summer strikes in pay dispute

Unite the union has warned that disruptions, delays and cancellations will be inevitable during the walkouts.
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Holiday makers could face major disruption this summer as Gatwick airport staff have announced eight days of strike action in a dispute over pay.

Almost a thousand baggage handlers, ground workers and check in staff employed by ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services Ltd are set to walkout, Unite the union has announced.

The workers will strike initially for four days beginning on Friday July 28 ending on Tuesday August 1. Then a further four days from Friday August 4 until Tuesday August 8.

The airlines affected include: British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair, TUI, Westjet and Wizz.

Nearly a thousand workers are set to take eight days of strike action at Gatwick Airport beginning later this month in a dispute over pay. Picture by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty ImagesNearly a thousand workers are set to take eight days of strike action at Gatwick Airport beginning later this month in a dispute over pay. Picture by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images
Nearly a thousand workers are set to take eight days of strike action at Gatwick Airport beginning later this month in a dispute over pay. Picture by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Unite has warned that disruptions, delays and cancellations will be inevitable during the walkouts.

The union claims that the majority of workers are paid on average under £12.00 an hour, despite undertaking highly demanding and safety critical roles.

During the pandemic, many companies at Gatwick Airport made large-scale redundancies and cut the pay and conditions of their remaining staff.

Unite says it has been in negotiations with the four companies since January but they all have failed to make offers that meet the workers’ expectations.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members at Gatwick Airport undertake incredibly demanding roles and are essential to keeping the airport and airlines working, yet their employers somehow think it is acceptable to pay them a pittance.

“As part of Unite’s unyielding focus on the jobs, pay and condition of its members the union has drawn a line in the sand and is committed to eradicating the scourge of low pay at the airport.”

In addition to the four companies where an industrial action mandate has already been secured, Unite is also balloting its members at DHL Gatwick Direct, Red Handling and Wilson James. All three ballots will close on Monday July 31 if workers vote for industrial action, the strikes in these companies could begin by the middle of next month.

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe delays, disruption and cancellations across Gatwick’s operations but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making. They have had every opportunity to make our members’ a fair pay offer but have chosen not to do so.”

LondonWorld has contacted Gatwick Airport for comment.