Unite, the UK’s leading union, has postponed one of two strikes due to begin later this week at Gatwick Airport.

Wilson James strike suspended

Following a greatly improved offer, strike action this weekend by workers employed by Wilson James, which operates the passenger assistance programme at the airport, has been suspended to allow members to vote on the new offer.

However, the strike action involving workers employed by ground handling company Red Handling, remains live. Further talks were held at the weekend and a further offer was made but it is thought that it is not likely to meet member expectations. The result of the ballot will be known on Thursday 17 August shortly before the strike is due to begin at 00:01 on Friday 18 August, with the walk out ending at 23:59 on Monday 21 August.

Red Handling strikes remain live

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Gatwick’s passengers planning to fly with one of the affected airlines will be rightly angry and confused over how every other dispute at the airport has been resolved, but this one hasn’t been. This is due to Red Handling’s failure to make an offer in line with other employers at the airport, it is a wealthy company, and its refusal is all about greed, not need.”

Major disruption

If the Red Handling strike goes ahead, it will affect the ground handling for Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP Air Portugal, and Saudi. Unite believes the initial four-day strike Unite believes will affect 216 flights and 45,000 passengers. A further strike is scheduled from 00:01 on Friday 25 August until 23:59 on Monday 28 August.

In addition, following a security concern raised by Unite, Gatwick Airport is investigating why some members of Red Handling’s check-in staff do not have Gatwick Airport ID, which is contrary to the regulations at the airport.

If members agree the Wilson James offer it will mean that Unite has resolved seven separate disputes at the airport without any worker taking strike action, with only Red Handling outstanding.

Negotiations open 

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “Strikes will inevitably cause serious delays and disruption across Gatwick. Unite remains willing to negotiate, provided Red Handling is prepared to significantly improve its offer.”


Notes to editors

Further strikes announced at Gatwick airport in pay dispute

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.