Nearly a thousand workers are set to take eight days of strike action at Gatwick Airport beginning later this month in a dispute over pay.

Four companies involved in action

The 950 workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are employed by four companies: ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services Ltd. All four companies conduct outsourced operations for major airlines primarily undertaking ground handling, baggage handling, ramp agent, dispatchers and check in agents roles. Given the scale of the industrial action, disruption, delays and cancellations are inevitable across the airport.

While the workers are on varying rates of pay, the majority are paid on average under £12.00 an hour, despite undertaking highly demanding and safety critical roles. During the pandemic, many companies at Gatwick Airport made large-scale redundancies and cut the pay and conditions of their remaining staff.

Unite has been in negotiations with the four companies since January but they all have failed to make offers that meets the workers’ expectations.

Workers on a pittance

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members at Gatwick Airport undertake incredibly demanding roles and are essential to keeping the airport and airlines working, yet their employers somehow think it is acceptable to pay them a pittance.

“As part of Unite’s unyielding focus on the jobs, pay and condition of its members the union has drawn a line in the sand and is committed to eradicating the scourge of low pay at the airport.”

Eights days of strikes

The workers will strike initially for four days beginning on Friday 28 July ending on Tuesday 1 August. Then a further four days from Friday 4 August until Tuesday 8 August.

The airlines affected include: British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair, TUI, Westjet and Wizz.

In addition to the four companies where an industrial action mandate has already been secured, Unite is also balloting its members at DHL Gatwick Direct, Red Handling and Wilson James. All three ballots will close on Monday 31 July if workers vote for industrial action, the strikes in these companies could begin by the middle of next month.

Delays and disruption

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe delays, disruption and cancellations across Gatwick’s operations but this dispute is entirely of the companies own making. They have had every opportunity to make our members’ a fair pay offer but have chosen not to do so.”


Notes to editors:

ICTS Gatwick workers secure inflation beating pay increase

The exact timing of each strike varies depending on the individual company’s shift patterns but all strikes will begin in the early hours of the morning on the 28 July and 4 August and end in the early hours of the morning on 1 and 8 August.

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.