Gatwick Airport avoids two weekends of strikes

Majority of ground handlers at London hub accept pay rise of up to 17%

Workers at Gatwick Airport have accepted improved pay offers, preventing strikes during the peak travel season. AP
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London's Gatwick Airport appears to have avoided significant disruption this weekend as a majority of workers accepted improved wage offers, cancelling imminent strikes.

The workers had planned to strike on two successive weekends commencing July 28 and August 4 after unsuccessful talks over pay and working conditions.

Ground handlers employed by four companies at Gatwick – ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services – were part of the planned walk out.

On Wednesday, the Unite union announced workers at ASC and Menzies Aviation had accepted new pay deals, calling off strikes planned at Gatwick this weekend.

ASC workers, servicing Tui flights, agreed to a "double-digit pay rise," while Menzies Aviation staff, under a Wizz Air contract, approved a 13 per cent pay increase for ground-handling staff and a 17 per cent boost for the lowest-paid employees.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham praised the "excellent" deals and credited the results to unionised workers standing strong during talks.

This week about 600 DHL employees, who work under an easyJet contract, also called off their planned strike over the next two weekends after they accepted a 15 per cent pay raise, along with an increase for night shifts.

Meanwhile, staff at GGS, which serves British Airways and Vueling, remain locked in negotiations, potentially putting an end to all strike actions at Gatwick this month and next.

The union has committed to making further announcements on the GGS decision soon, including whether strikes planned from Friday, August 4 to Tuesday, August 8 would proceed.

Pay agreement comes after travel chaos at Gatwick

Cancellations and delays at London's Gatwick Airport left thousands of passengers stranded earlier this week.

Up to 11,000 people were affected due to adverse weather and staff shortages, resulting in the cancellation of more than 70 flights.

Unexpected thunderstorms across Europe coupled with air-traffic control staff shortages led to one-tenth of flights being cancelled within 24 hours.

Updated: July 28, 2023, 10:39 AM