Members of Unite employed at Gatwick Airport are moving towards industrial action, following the overwhelming rejection of Gatwick Airport Limited’s (GAL) pay offer.
Following pay negotiations which began last autumn, GAL proposed a three year deal which would have seen workers receive an increase of just two per cent plus £250 for the first two years with the workforce receiving the consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate and £250 in the final year.
To add insult to injury the offer is conditional on the introduction of a new starter rate which would result in new starters being paid up to £7,000 per annum less than staff undertaking the same role.
Over 2,000 Unite members employed as security staff, firefighters, terminal operatives, surface transport workers and engineers, voted by 98 per cent to reject the offer on a turnout approaching 80 per cent.
Unite is now seeking an urgent meeting with the company and the tabling of an improved pay offer. If this is not forthcoming then Unite will begin preparations for a full industrial action ballot.
If a full industrial action ballot takes place then strike action could begin during the spring and would result in widespread disruption at the airport.
Members are particularly angry at the proposed pay offer, which is below the retail price index (RPI) inflation rate, as Gatwick’s shareholders recently received a £600 million windfall and the airport recorded a profit of £60 million last year.
Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate is paid in the region of £3,000 a day.
“It is now incumbent on Gatwick Airport to come back with a dramatically improved pay offer which meets the workers’ pay claim,” said Unite regional officer Jamie Major.
“The airport is fantastically profitable as a result of the hard work of our members and they believe they should be properly rewarded for their hard work and loyalty,” he added.
“To even be suggesting the introduction of new starter rates, far below what workers already receive, demonstrates that the airport’s management is putting profits before people.
“Unite’s members have no desire to cause disruption to the travelling public but they will not allow their pay to be cut in real terms.”