Luton Airport ground staff in strike vote
Unite says payment delays ‘out of order’ amid living costs crisis
Around 80 staff employed by GH London Ground Handling at Luton airport are being balloted for strike action over the delay of a £500 recruitment and retention bonus until February 2023.
The workers, who are members of Unite the union, are being balloted for strike action, which would impact services leading up to Christmas, particularly for Wizz Air. The ballot closes on November 1.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “It is out of order for the employer to sit on the payment of the £500 promised to our members. There’s a cost of living crisis and our members need every penny of their earnings.
“The retention payment needs to be introduced now, not in four months’ time, and Unite’s members have their union’s total support in this dispute.”
Amid rocketing inflation and severe understaffing, Unite tabled an emergency pay claim in June following the agreement of a six per cent rise and £500 retention payment in January.
The company has agreed to an extra five per cent increase and another £500 retention payment, which will also be paid to new recruits. However, the company is insisting the payment will not come into force until February 2023.
The workers, who are undertaking excessive hours because of chronic understaffing, are concerned that health and safety is being compromised.
Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge added, “The chronic staff shortages at GH London Ground Handling are now a safety risk. The company must bring forward the introduction of the recruitment and retention payment because it desperately needs to attract and keep staff.”
By Ryan Fletcher