(Sharecast News) – Nearly 1,000 workers at Gatwick Airport are set to strike for eight days over the summer holidays, it was confirmed on Friday, in a long-running dispute over pay.
Unite, the union, said 950 of its members would strike for four days from 28 July, and then for a further four days from 4 August.
The members work for four companies: ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services, all of which provide outsourced operations for airlines, including ground handling, baggage handlers and check-in agents.
The union said it had been negotiating since January but the four companies had yet to make an offer that met worker expectations.
Affected airlines include British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, TUI and Wizz.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Our members at Gatwick undertake incredibly demanding roles and are essential to keeping the airport and airlines working, yet their employers somehow think it is acceptable to pay them pittance.”
Dominic Rothwell, Unite regional officer, said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe delays, disruptions and cancellations across Gatwick’s operations.”
The Gatwick strikes will further compound a difficult summer for both the aviation industry and travellers. There is a shortage of traffic controllers across Europe, and earlier this week EasyJet cancelled 1,700 flights in July, August and September due to constrained airspace and ongoing air traffic control difficulties.
An air traffic strike in Italy is due to start on Saturday, which Ryanair has warned will likely cause cancellations and disruption.
Unite is also balloting members who work for DHL Gatwick Direct, Red Handling and Wilson Games at Gatwick. Voting closes on 31 July, with strikes likely to start in mid-August if a majority backs industrial action.
A spokesperson for Gatwick said the airport would “support the airlines affected, who hold the contracts with the third-party ground handling and check-in companies, with their contingency plans to ensure that as many flights as possible operate as scheduled”.