Gatwick: New strikes to run over August Bank Holiday weekend - ‘45,000 passengers face delays’

Queuing passengers at Gatwick Airport. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Queuing passengers at Gatwick Airport. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Queuing passengers at Gatwick Airport. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) | Getty Images

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Unite strike action at Gatwick will begin on August 18.

A union has claimed 45,000 passengers face delays this month after strikes were announced.

Unite the union has announced eight days of action by Gatwick Airportworkers, beginning on August 18 and including the bank holiday weekend, in pay disputes.

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The strikes will involve over 230 workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed at Red Handling, a ground handling company and Wilson James, which operates the passenger assistance contract at the airport.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Red Handling and Wilson James need to wake up and smell the coffee, other employers at the airport are prepared to pay the going rate and there is no excuse why they shouldn’t do the same. There is no way our members will accept a real terms pay cut and poverty pay.

“Unite’s complete focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members will mean that our members at Gatwick will receive the union’s unflinching support.”

Red Handling workers are scheduled to begin their first tranche of strike action at 12.01am on Friday August 18, with strikes concluding at 11.59pm on Monday August 21. The second strike will begin on 12.01am on Friday August 25, ending at 11.59pm on Monday August 28.

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The strikes at Wilson James will begin at 12.01am on Friday August 18, ending at 11.59pm on Sunday August 20, and then from 12.01am on Tuesday August 22, ending on Thursday August 24 at 11.59pm.

Red Handling is responsible for ground handling for Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP Air Portugal and Saudi. During the first four-day strike action at Red Handling, Unite says it believes that 216 flights could be disrupted or delayed, affecting approximately 45,000 passengers.

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “The strike action is set to cause severe disruption throughout Gatwick Airport, but this dispute is totally of the employers’ own making, they have been given every opportunity to make our members a fair pay offer but have failed to do so. The companies need to stop prevaricating and make an offer which meets our members’ expectations.”

Previous strike action over pay at Gatwick Airport scheduled for late July and early August involving four ground handling companies was called off, after pay increases were agreed.

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A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “We are aware of the recent ballot results and encourage staff at Wilson James, Red Handling and their union to reach a resolution.

“We will support Wilson James, who hold the contract for providing assistance to passengers, in their contingency planning. We will also support the airlines affected, who hold the contracts with Red Handling, with their contingency plans to ensure that as many flights as possible operate as scheduled.”

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