Gatwick pay victory

Gatwick DHL ground handlers for easyJet secure significant pay increase, following strike threat

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The 500-strong ground handling workers employed by logistics giant DHL, on the easyJet contract at Gatwick Airport, have secured a 10 per cent pay increase and the introduction of sick pay.

The workforce demonstrated in a consultative ballot that they were fully prepared to take strike action to secure a pay rise.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite’s members at DHL have shown that by standing together they were able to secure a significant pay increase and improved conditions. This result should be noted by the rest of the sector – this workforce is not prepared to accept bargain-basement terms and conditions any longer.

“With aviation beginning to return to normality, Unite is redoubling its efforts to protect and enhance the jobs, pay and conditions of its members in the sector.”

The DHL workers had experienced successive pay freezes in 2020 and 2021 and were focussed on ensuring their pay levels returned to pre-pandemic levels.

DHL, which banked profits of 4.8 billion euros last year, had initially attempted to instigate a further wage freeze before offering improved rates. Once DHL understood the strength of feeling among staff the pay offer was increased to 10 per cent. In addition, DHL agreed to pay contractual sick pay to its workforce for the first time.

The pay increase comes at a time when Gatwick airport, which suffered a huge drop in activity during the pandemic, is beginning to see a major increase in flights. The airport’s south terminal, which has been closed, is due to re-open at the end of this month.

Unite understands there are growing staff shortages throughout the aviation sector. As the sector returns to normality following the pandemic, companies are struggling to recruit workers due to the low pay, unsocial hours and poor conditions currently on offer.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Jamie Major added, “Unite will be building on this pay victory throughout Gatwick Airport. Employers must understand that with demand for flights increasing workers will not tolerate low pay and poor conditions any longer.”

This latest pay victory comes after dozens of Unite wins in the recent weeks – you can read more about Unite’s wins here.

By Barckley Sumner

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