Skip to main content

Home  »  UK Employment news   »   New strikes at Gatwick Airport could hit summer holiday plans

New strikes at Gatwick Airport could hit summer holiday plans

Gatwick airport

Tourists and travellers are warned of a "severe disruption" as Gatwick Airport ground staff announced fresh strikes. 

Over 230 employees from two contracted firms at the London-based airport will walk out throughout August, citing a salary dispute.

The first wave of industrial action is scheduled for four days starting Friday, August 18. 

The strike will affect baggage handlers and aeroplane ground staff employed by Red Handling – a firm operating for airlines like Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, and TAP Air Portugal.

Read More: Gatwick Airport Strikes Cancelled As Workers Accept Pay Offer

Another four-day strike, including the August bank holiday weekend, will start on Friday, August 25. 

Unite the Union says Red Handling workers earn from £11 to £12 per hour.

It says they are some of the lowest rates for such positions.

Wilson James, which operates Gatwick's passenger assistance contract, will also see its union members participating.

Unite says the workers, earning £10.93 per hour, will walk out for three days from Friday, August 18.

An additional three days of strikes will be held from Tuesday, August 22.

The union expects the strikes could disrupt 216 flights during their first phase, potentially impacting approximately 45,000 passengers.

Read More: Gatwick DHL Workers Pause Strike Plans As Pay Offer Goes To Vote

The strikes come after nearly 1,000 Gatwick employees at four companies scrapped strike plans this summer after receiving "significant" pay hikes.

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."

Read More: Scottish Education Staff Vote To Strike For Better Pay 

Strike is "disappointing"

Wilson James said the strike is “disappointing” and said it had made an "above inflation offer" to staff.

They added: "We are continuing dialog and conciliation efforts supported by ACAS, which we hope will allow us to reach an acceptable agreement for all parties.

"While we continue to engage with union partners transparently and in good faith, we are also preparing contingency plans for possible strike activity to ensure that the passengers who rely on us to support their journeys can plan with confidence."

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

A spokesperson for London Gatwick 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."

Security staff at Heathrow Airport has canceled a series of planned summer strikes after voting in favour of a pay offer.

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Most Read News