Strikes scheduled for this week at Gatwick airport have been called off after Unite , secured an 18 per cent pay package on behalf of drivers employed by Alpha Flight, the sole supplier of inflight food for British Airways at Gatwick Airport.
The 55 drivers were due to stage a strike beginning on Wednesday, March 27 and ending the following day (March 28).
An initial six per cent increase in pay was rejected in a consultative ballot and then following further pay talks an improved offer was voted on and accepted by the drivers. The drivers will receive a pay increase worth a total of 18 per cent, a 30 minute reduction in the working week and each worker will receive an additional £420, as part of a two year pay deal with the final payments made in November 2019.
When pay talks began the drivers were receiving £10.64 an hour and the new deal will see wage rates increase to £12.70 an hour.
The pay deal is groundbreaking, as Unite has become increasingly aware that HGV drivers at Gatwick airport, are not receiving the market rate for the job and the pay deal with Alpha Flight is the first time that a company has taken the underpayment issue seriously.
“By displaying complete unity our members have secured an excellent pay deal, which ensures their earnings are in line with local HGV drivers’ earnings,” said Unite regional officer Jamie Major.
“Alpha Flight is the first company at Gatwick airport to take the argument for paying a market rate for HGV drivers seriously,” he added.
“By introducing a market rate for drivers Alpha Flight has now established itself as the market leader for HGV driver pay on the Gatwick campus.
“Unite will now be working to ensure that other employers at Gatwick also boost drivers’ pay and introduce a market rate.”