Further strike action announced for Gatwick Airport

A view across the tramac at London Gatwick Airport
Photo Credit: Gatwick Airport

A further series of strikes is set to take place at Gatwick Airport later this month. The strikes, which will span over eight days, including the busy August Bank Holiday weekend, have been organized as a result of ongoing pay disputes involving the airport’s workforce.

Low Pay Offers

More than 230 workers, all members of Unite, one of the UK’s leading unions, are directly affected by the strikes. These employees are employed by two key companies operating within Gatwick Airport: Red Handling and Wilson James.

The former is a ground handling company, while the latter is responsible for the passenger assistance contract at the airport.

Unfortunately, both these companies have made pay offers that have fallen short of meeting the workers’ expectations, leading to the ongoing tensions.

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Fair Compensation

Unite’s General Secretary, Sharon Graham, has firmly expressed the workers’ stance. She emphasized that Red Handling and Wilson James need to align themselves with other employers at the airport who are willing to pay their employees a fair and just compensation.

The call for fair treatment extends to rejecting real terms pay cuts and inadequate wages. The union’s primary focus is on securing better job conditions, wages, and benefits for its members, and this commitment will undoubtedly be extended to the Gatwick Airport workforce.


Scheduled Strike Dates

The upcoming strike action is scheduled to unfold in multiple phases, targeting both Red Handling and Wilson James.

Red Handling workers are slated to initiate their first wave of strikes at 00:01 on Friday, August 18th, with the action set to conclude at 23:59 on Monday, August 21st.

The second phase of strikes is set to commence at 00:01 on Friday, August 25th, and will run through until 23:59 on Monday, August 28th.

For Wilson James employees, the strike action will kick off at 00:01 on Friday, August 18th, concluding at 23:59 on Sunday, August 20th. This will be followed by another round of strikes starting at 00:01 on Tuesday, August 22nd, and ending on Thursday, August 24th at 23:59.

Airlines at Risk of Disruption

Red Handling plays a pivotal role in the ground handling operations for several airlines, including Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP Air Portugal, and Saudi.

During the initial four-day strike period for Red Handling, Unite estimates that around 216 flights could face disruption or delays, affecting a substantial passenger count of approximately 45,000.

Unite’s Regional Officer, Dominic Rothwell, highlighted the potential repercussions of the impending strikes. Rothwell emphasized that the anticipated disruptions are a direct result of the companies’ failure to meet their responsibilities.

He further emphasized that these employers have had ample opportunities to make fair pay offers but have thus far fallen short of expectations.

Unite has said in a statement that the onus now rests on the companies to cease procrastination and extend an offer that meets the legitimate demands of the Gatwick Airport workforce.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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