Gatwick airport workers who provide mobility assistance to passengers have said they will stage a series of strikes over the next two months in a row over a ‘massive inequality’ in pay.
Members of the Unite union employed by logistics company Wilson James at Gatwick will stage three 48-hour walk-outs on 20 and 26 November and 21 December.
The announcement follows the news that mobility assistance workers employed by Clece Care Services at Luton airport will go on strike for a week starting 8 November.
Unite claims the Wilson James employees serve an estimated 14,000 passengers a week at Gatwick.
The dispute centres on union members’ demand for a £1-an-hour pay rise backdated to 1 April 2018, which Unite says would “begin to bridge the gap with those airport staff pushing luggage trollies who earn significantly more than Wilson James Staff”.
According to Unite, its members employed by Wilson James earn £8.27 an hour.
The union is now calling on bosses at the company to come to the negotiating table “before the first strikes start to bite”.
Jamie Major, Unite regional officer, said: “The last thing our members want is to cause inconvenience and distress to those passengers who rely on their services during their time at Gatwick airport – but they feel they have been forced into a corner by a tight-fisted management who refuse to address the pay inequality issue.”
According to the BBC, a Gatwick spokesperson said the airport is encouraging both sides to negotiate, but that it remains confident services will not be severely disrupted because “Wilson James has a range of mitigation measures ready to put into place”.
Wilson James confirmed it is “preparing contingency plans”.