Fresh strikes are set to affect Gatwick airport later this month, as workers take eight days of industrial action, including the August Bank Holiday weekend, in pay disputes.

Low pay offers

The strikes will involve over 230 workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed at Red Handling, a ground handling company and Wilson James, which operates the passenger assistance contract at the airport.

Both companies have failed to make offers that meet the workers’ expectations.

Pay the going rate

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Red Handling and Wilson James need to wake up and smell the coffee, other employers at the airport are prepared to pay the going rate and there is no excuse why they shouldn’t do the same. There is no way our members will accept a real terms pay cut and poverty pay.

 “Unite’s complete focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members will mean that our members at Gatwick will receive the union’s unflinching support.”

Strike dates

Red Handling workers are scheduled to begin their first tranche of strike action at 00:01 on Friday 18 August with strikes concluding at 23:59 on Monday 21 August. The second strike will begin on 00:01 on Friday 25 August, ending at 23:59 on Monday 28 August.

The strikes at Wilson James will begin at 00:01 on Friday 18 August ending at 23:59 on Sunday 20 August and then from 00:01 on Tuesday 22 August ending on Thursday 24 August at 23:59.

Affected airlines

Red Handling is responsible for ground handling for Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP Air Portugal and Saudi. During the first four-day strike action at Red Handling, Unite believes that 216 flights could be disrupted or delayed, affecting approximately 45,000 passengers.

Braced for disruption

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “The strike action is set to cause severe disruption throughout Gatwick Airport, but this dispute is totally of the employers’ own making, they have been given every opportunity to make our members a fair pay offer but have failed to do so.

 “The companies need to stop prevaricating and make an offer which meets our members’ expectations.”

Previous deals

Previous strike action over pay at Gatwick Airport scheduled for late July and early August involving four ground handling companies was called off, after all four agreed to make double digit pay increases.


Notes to editors

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.