Around 230 workers at London Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport, are set to go on strike for eight days this month due to pay disputes, which could potentially lead to flight disruptions. The Unite trade union has warned of the impact this could have on flights.
The pay disputes involve ground handlers, passenger assistance, and other airport workers at Gatwick who have been in negotiations with several employers including Red Handling, Wilson James, Menzies, and ASC. Last year, Dublin Airport was the top destination for Gatwick, serving a total of 1.1 million passengers.
In July, some planned strikes were called off after workers received improved pay offers. However, Unite announced on Wednesday that workers from Red Handling and Wilson James would proceed with industrial action. The strikes will take place in various tranches from August 18 to 28, coinciding with a bank holiday in most of Britain. Unite estimates that over 200 flights will be disrupted or delayed during the first four days of the strike.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham criticized Red Handling and Wilson James, stating, “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.”
A spokesperson for Gatwick assured that the airport would work closely with airlines and other companies to minimize the impact of the strikes. They stated that contingency plans would be put in place to ensure that as many flights as possible run on schedule.
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