The threat of strike action at Gatwick Airport this weekend has ended after workers accepted dramatically improved pay offers. 

Improved offer

Unite, the UK’s leading union, had called strike action this weekend on behalf of members employed by ground handlers Red Handling and Wilson James who undertake the passenger mobility contract at the airport.

However, following improved pay offers both strikes have been cancelled and there is currently no further industrial action scheduled at the airport.

Tremendous achievement

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a tremendous achievement, Unite has co-ordinated industrial disputes across Gatwick to secure well deserved pay increases for its members.

“The pay campaign at Gatwick airport this summer is one of the clearest examples yet of how Unite’s relentless focus on jobs, pay and conditions is paying direct financial dividends for its members.”

Above inflation pay deals

Members of Unite at Red Handling accepted a 14 per cent increase in pay. In addition, they will receive improved overtime rates and better sick pay. During the course of the dispute, Unite has more than doubled its membership at the company.

Meanwhile Unite’s members at Wilson James accepted a 16 per cent pay increase, an increase in overtime rates from next month, a commitment to further negotiations over sick pay and the opportunity of improved shift patterns.

Unite had already resolved pay disputes at six other companies: ASC, ICTS, DHL Gatwick Direct, DHL Services Ltd, GGS and Menzies Aviation. In all cases the workers secured at least a double figure pay increase, with many of the deals being for significantly higher rates.

Complex campaign 

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “This was an extremely complex campaign and its success would simply not have been possible without the hardwork, dedication and commitment of Unite’s reps and members at Gatwick.” 

“Unite will not be resting on its laurels and will be using this year’s pay battles as the foundation for future campaigns at the airport.”


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.