Nearly a thousand workers are set to take eight days of strike action at Gatwick Airport later in July in a dispute over pay.
The 950 workers are employed by four companies: ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services Ltd. All four companies conduct outsourced operations for major airlines primarily undertaking ground handling, baggage handling, ramp agent, dispatchers and check in agents roles.
Given the scale of the industrial action, disruption, their union, Unite has said that delays and cancellations are ‘inevitable’ across the airport.
Negotiation with the four companies involved has been in progress since January, but as of yet a settlement has failed to have been reached.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “As part of Unite’s unyielding focus on the jobs, pay and condition of its members the union has drawn a line in the sand and is committed to eradicating the scourge of low pay at the airport.”
A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport told a BBC reporter that the airport would “support the airlines affected… with their contingency plans to ensure that as many flights as possible operate as scheduled”.
The workers will strike initially for four days beginning on Friday 28 July ending on Tuesday 1 August. Then a further four days from Friday 4 August until Tuesday 8 August.
The airlines affected include British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, TUI, Westjet and Wizz. EasyJet announced earlier this week that it was to cancel 1,700 flights, mostly from Gatwick due in part to congestion at the airport.
In addition to the four companies where an industrial action mandate has already been secured, Unite is also balloting its members at DHL Gatwick Direct, Red Handling and Wilson James. All three ballots will close on Monday 31 July if workers vote for industrial action, the strikes in these companies could begin by the middle of August.