Luton airport contract workers in poverty pay fight

Strike against poverty pay at Luton airport means Christmas travel disruption ahead

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Luton airport passengers face disruption to their Christmas travel plans as workers employed by contractor Wilson James take industrial action in an effort to earn more than poverty pay.

Strike action will begin at 5am on Sunday, December 19 and end at .4.59am on Thursday, December 23.

The Wilson James workers are employed to assist passengers with mobility issues to board and disembark flights. Front of house workers are paid only the minimum wage of £8.91 an hour, while the drivers who transport passengers to and from planes airside and are required to possess a class 2 HGV licence receive just £10 an hour.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Workers employed by Wilson James at Luton Airport have an important role caring for vulnerable passengers. They should not be expected to undertake it on poverty rates of pay.

“Yet another big business is telling UK workers to get by on breadline wages, and this is just not acceptable,” she added.

“Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, which is why Wilson James’ workers will be receiving the full support of their union until this dispute is resolved,” Graham continued.

Wilson James operates the passenger mobility service on an outsourced contract, tendered by Luton airport. Wilson James recently acquired the contract and Unite understands that Luton airport has refused to increase the value of the contract to fund a pay rise.

A picket line will be in place on the approach to the airport during the dispute.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said, “We have tried to settle this through negotiation but the employer and Luton airport are not cooperating. This strike will cause considerable disruption to passengers with mobility issues but our members simply can’t endure poverty pay any longer.

“The cost of living is climbing every day and our members must be able to put food on the table,” he noted.

“Even at this late stage the strike and disruption can be avoided. Wilson James and Luton Airport simply have to come forward with a fair pay offer for our members.”

By Barckley Sumner

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