Security workers at Gatwick Airport are to strike for 48 hours over poverty pay rates which will cause travel disruption, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, warned today (Monday 29 July).

More than 130 Unite members working for ICTS (UK), who are employed to scan passengers’ luggage for explosive materials and other dangerous and prohibited items , voted by 95 per cent for strike action.

They will strike for 48 hours from 06.00 on Saturday 10 August.

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “ICTS workers have an incredibly responsible security role scanning the luggage of every single passenger on every single aeroplane that flies out of Gatwick Airport.

“It is a very security sensitive job to ensure the safety of the travelling public, yet the majority of these workers are paid less than £9 an hour, which is not enough to live on in the expensive south east of England, with its sky high housing costs.

"Security and safety should be the absolute top priorities and yet these workers feel undervalued, demotivated and fed up of working for an employer that doles out poverty wages.

“It is high time the airport got its priorities right and starts investing in its hardworking staff, instead of paying millions to its shareholders.

“This ballot result is a clarion call to end poverty pay at Gatwick and demonstrates that for this group of workers: ‘Enough is enough’.

“The strike will mean passengers will inevitably experience delays and a poorer service, but this is now in the hands of ICTS bosses and the management of Gatwick Airport.

“The airport’s owners are making millions every year while they are allowing workers on their outsourced contracts to be paid rates below what workers can actually live on.

“It is astonishing that workers, who undertake such crucial safety critical work as scanning luggage, are paid so little for the work they do.

“There is now a window of opportunity for the company to come to the table and hold constructive talks with Unite to remedy these dismal rates of pay.”

Gatwick Airport made profits of £148 million in the last financial year an increase of £88 million on the previous 12 months.

Notes to editors:

ICTS workers are paid just £8.50 an hour and are seeking an increase of 50 pence an hour so that they are paid the real living wage of £9 an hour.

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.