Unite says Gatwick airport workers to strike again

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Unite says Gatwick airport workers to strike again

FILE - Passengers walk into the Departures entrance at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport near Crawley, just south of London, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Hundreds of thousands of British vacationers face possible disruption to their travel plans at the start of the school summer holidays, after almost 1,000 workers at Gatwick Airport voted to strike in a dispute over pay. The Unite union said it members, including baggage handlers and check-in staff, who are employed by four private contractors will walk out for four days from July 28 and again for a four-day stretch from Aug. 4. Hundreds of thousands of British vacationers face possible disruption to their travel plans at the start of the school summer holidays, after almost 1,000 workers at Gatwick Airport voted to strike in a dispute over pay.

The union said members of baggage handlers and check-in staff, employed by four private firms, will walk out for four days from July 28 and again for a four-day stretch from Aug. 4.

The union said the strike will inevitably lead to disruption to flights at the height of the summer holiday season after the school year has ended. The airlines affected are British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, TUI, WestJet and Wizz Air.

London's second-busiest airport, Gatwick, is located just south of Heathrow, and is a focus in the summer to Europe's beach resorts in the Mediterranean.

A total of 4,410 flights are scheduled to depart Gatwick across all the strike days, equating to more than 840,000 seats.

ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services are involved in the dispute, which conduct outsourced operations for airlines, such as ground handling, baggage handling and check-in. Unite said it has been in negotiations with the four companies since January.

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

Over the past couple of months, Britain has seen a number of strikes as workers try to get wage increases that at least maintain inflation. Although inflation has fallen, it is still at 8.7 percent. The majority of workers set to strike will be paid an average of $15.50 a hour, the union said.

With strikes, staff shortages and airspace closures related to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Gatwick, like other airports in Europe, is already experiencing major disruption due to air traffic control restrictions.

We are aware of the recent ballot result and will support our airlines with their contingency plans to ensure that flights operate as scheduled, the airport's spokeswoman said.