Staff on a contract to run check-in services for Easyjet at Stansted airport have confirmed 17 days of strike action this summer in a dispute with Stobart Aviation Services.
The Unite union had earlier warned that its members would announce dates for industrial action after voting in favour of a walk-out, but talks to avoid the situation were under way.
However, the union says the best way to call an end to the dispute over pay and union recognition “is if the public contacts Easyjet and asks the airline to insist that Stobart does everything it can to genuinely resolve the situation”.
The 43 check-in agents employed by Stobart on the Easyjet contract claim the company has ‘refused’ to pay wages in line with similar firms at Stansted and to recognise Unite as employees’ chosen trade union for collective bargaining purposes since it took over the contract from Menzies.
According to Unite, all of the 88.4 per cent of members who participated in the ballot voted in favour of the strikes, which have been scheduled for the following dates:
- 25-29 July
- 2-5 August
- 9-12 August
- 16-19 August
- 23-27 August
The announcement comes as it came to light that Stobart chief executive Warwick Brady could receive a bonus of up to £30 million if Stansted airport meets a set of targets and is sold.
Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: “There is no getting away from it; these 17 days of strike action will cause severe disruption to thousands of Easyjet passengers using Stansted for their summer holidays.
“A major bone of contention is that workers employed by other companies at Stansted are being paid up to 20 per cent more for doing the same job. But our Stobart members experience staffing issues, a lack of basics such as drinking water during their long shifts and many other smaller but nonetheless important issues that are ignored due to not having proper trade union recognition.
“We held talks with the bosses of Stobart Aviation Services Limited last week and they were frankly dismissive of our pay claim, with a senior manager even stating that staff are handsomely paid, yet were evasive and shifty on the £30 million bonus issue.”
Barter claims Stobart has declined a meeting with the union and ACAS and said talks may be helped if a senior representative from Easyjet were involved in any future meetings.
He continued: “Unite’s door is always open for such negotiations, but there does have to be a genuine attempt from Stobart to address our members’ concerns rather than simply stalling for time.”