Bus drivers ferrying passengers to and from planes at Gatwick Airport started voting for strike action today (Tuesday 23 January) after their employer offered a 0 per cent pay increase.
Unite, the UK’s largest union, has today (Tuesday 23 January) begun balloting its members employed by Omni Serve who drive the ‘airside’ buses at Gatwick Airport. The ballot will close on Tuesday 6 February and if members support industrial action, strikes could begin by the end of next month.
The workers have not received a pay increase for over three years. Negotiations for a pay increase for 2017 dragged on throughout last year with the company refusing to make an offer. An offer was finally made just before Christmas of a 0 per cent pay rise for 2017 and a below inflation increase of 2 per cent for 2018.
Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “Managers at Omni Serve are presiding over a pay shambles. Workers are at the end of their tethers and have seen their wages cut in real terms year on year.
“Our members provide a key role at Gatwick airport and if they take strike action passengers face severe delays and flights could be cancelled.
“Since Unite issued the notice to ballot, workers have been flocking to join the union. Omni Serve has totally misunderstood workers’ anger over the way they are being treated.
“If Omni Serve seriously wants to avoid customer misery the company needs to return to the negotiating table and make a reasonable pay offer to our members.”
Last year, strike action on a separate Omni Serve contract at Gatwick involving baggage operators for Norwegian, dubbed ‘bucks not burgers’ was narrowly avoided after the company made an eleventh hour pay offer.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.