HGV drivers employed by Alpha Flight, the sole supplier of inflight food for British Airways at Gatwick Airport, have voted for industrial action in a dispute over broken pay promises.

The 55 drivers, who are members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, will initially undertake an overtime ban from 03:00 on Monday 18 March until 11:59 on Friday 22 March. This will then be followed by strike action from 03:00 on Wednesday 27 March until 11:59 on Thursday 28 March.

98 per cent yes vote

The drivers voted 98 per cent in favour of industrial action, on a turnout of 90 per cent, after Alpha Flight UK reneged on an agreement with Unite to introduce a market rate alignment pay allowance for the HGV drivers. The drivers are currently being paid well below the rates available for HGV drivers in the local area.

Once industrial action begins, the ability for Alpha Flight UK to be able to transport food from its on-site warehouse, to the planes will be severely diminished. The very tight security airside at Gatwick precludes alternative solutions.

Penny pinching

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “The industrial action ballot clearly demonstrates that our members are no longer prepared to accept low pay.

“This dispute is a direct result of Alpha Flight reneging on its promise to resolve the totally unfair situation of drivers being paid below the market rate.

“British Airways passengers who find that their flights are lacking food and water have to understand that their comfort has been compromised directly by the penny pinching of Alpha Flight.

“Even at this late stage Alpha Flight can still ensure that industrial action is avoided by coming forward with a reasonable pay offer, which meets the expectations of our members.”


Notes to editors:

BA Gatwick passengers face food and water shortages after drivers begin balloting for industrial actions

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

Email: [email protected]

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