Unite members at Gatwick Airport, employed in assisting passengers with reduced mobility, will this week begin voting for strike action in a dispute over pay.
The dedicated staff who are employed by OCS Group UK, believe they have been left with no option, after pay talks which have been ongoing for 12 months failed to produce a realistic offer
The majority of the workers are paid just £7.65 an hour. One of the offers made by OCS would see workers receive an increase of just 5 pence per hour from April 2017. Three separate pay offers from management have been rejected with workers voting by over 90 per cent against the offer on each occasion.
Unite’s membership has more than doubled since the pay row began and is growing rapidly. Unite currently has 200 members with the company. At its busiest the workers assist over 3,000 disabled and reduced mobility passengers a day.
Unite regional officer, Jamie Major, said: “OCS doesn’t seem serious about settling this dispute. At the last meeting management gave four separate options, none of which represented an improved offer in real terms. OCS was simply manipulating figures to rob better paid staff to fund workers on poverty pay. This was smoke and mirrors not meaningful negotiations.
“It is entirely unacceptable that OCS think it can get away with paying poverty pay to dedicated workers committed to assisting disabled and reduced mobility passengers. Unite will not allow our members to be treated with casual contempt.
“Unite is lobbying Gatwick Airport to take the moral high ground and become the first UK airport to become a genuine living wage employer and pay the real living wage.”
The ballot opens on Thursday 23 February and closes on Thursday 9 March. Unite is expecting to call members out on significant strike action, if members back strike action in the ballot.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
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.