Today's top stories...Gatwick Bank Holiday weekend strikes off

Unite secures eight pay wins at airport without one day of strike action

Reading time: 6 min

The threat of strike action at Gatwick Airport this weekend has ended after workers accepted dramatically improved pay offers. 

Unite had called strike action this weekend on behalf of members employed by ground handlers Red Handling and Wilson James who undertake the passenger mobility contract at the airport.

However, following improved pay offers both strikes have been cancelled and there is currently no further industrial action scheduled at the airport.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is a tremendous achievement, Unite has co-ordinated industrial disputes across Gatwick to secure well deserved pay increases for its members.

“The pay campaign at Gatwick airport this summer is one of the clearest examples yet of how Unite’s relentless focus on jobs, pay and conditions is paying direct financial dividends for its members.”

Members of Unite at Red Handling accepted a 14 per cent increase in pay. In addition, they will receive improved overtime rates and better sick pay. During the course of the dispute, Unite has more than doubled its membership at the company.

Meanwhile Unite’s members at Wilson James accepted a 16 per cent pay increase, an increase in overtime rates from next month, a commitment to further negotiations over sick pay and the opportunity of improved shift patterns.

Unite had already resolved pay disputes at six other companies: ASC, ICTS, DHL Gatwick Direct, DHL Services Ltd, GGS and Menzies Aviation. In all cases the workers secured at least a double figure pay increase, with many of the deals being for significantly higher rates.

Stay tuned on UniteLive next week for a full investigation into Unite’s Gatwick wins.

Pay peanuts, get strikes!

The production of the famous salted and dry roasted peanuts will grind to a halt for a week in September because KP Snacks refuses to give workers a fair portion of its multi-million pound profits.

The workers at KP Snacks have voted overwhelmingly by 83% to take strike action for a week beginning on 5 September. The union is warning that unless the company ups its pay offer strike action will escalate. The factory in Rotherham is the sole producer of KP Nuts so the walk-out will stop the production of one of Britain’s favourite snacks.

The workers have rejected a below inflation eight per cent pay offer. The company has increased its profits by 275 per cent since 2018. In stark contrast, average pay at KP Snacks has fallen in real terms by 14 per cent since 2018.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said,“Unite’s message to KP Snacks is if you pay your workers peanuts, expect strike action.

“The company has increased its profits by an astonishing 275 per cent since 2018. But the workers’ pay has fallen 14 per cent in real terms over the same period. That’s why workers are refusing to accept anything less than a pay deal which keeps up with the cost of living.

“The workers have Unite’s total support in their drive for a fairer share of the company’s huge profits.”

Unite has announced that its members in an initial 23 local authorities will begin taking strike action from next week in a dispute over pay.

Unite announces autumn council strikes

Unite members have overwhelmingly rejected the local authority employers’ pay offer of just £1,925, a poorer offer than last year, despite the cost-of-living crisis having worsened.

The first industrial action will involve Unite members at Chesterfield council who will strike next Wednesday and Thursday (30 and 31 August). The other councils with industrial action mandates will then take strike action throughout September.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Council workers are on the frontline providing vital services to the communities they serve. It is simply unacceptable that workers have been forced onto the breadline due to years of real terms pay cuts.”

“Unite never takes a backward step in supporting its members and is dedicated to enhancing their jobs, pay and conditions. Unite will be providing its local authority members with its complete support.”

The English councils that have secured mandates for strike action are: Bath and North East Somerset, Chesterfield, Coventry, Cumberland, Darlington, Haringey, Ipswich, Newham, North Tyneside, Tower Hamlets, Truro, Sefton, Southwark, Warrington, Westminster and Wigan.

The Welsh councils who are part of the industrial action campaign are: Cardiff, Cynon Valley Waste, Gwynedd and Wrexham. In addition, Tamar Bridge and Ferry Port, Greater Manchester Fire and Civil Defence and Derby Homes, whose workers are subject to local government pay, also voted in favour of strikes.

Semiconductor manufacturer making tens of millions faces a strike ballot over pay

Manufacturing workers building semiconductors for a range of markets will begin voting on strike action on Friday (August 25) in a dispute over a real terms pay cut.

Despite £39 million in profit, Diodes Zetex Semiconductors Ltd in Oldham is offering its workers a paltry 5.5 per cent pay increase when inflation (RPI) is 9 per cent. Its parent company Diodes Incorporated made massive gross profits of £827 million in 2022, up 23 per cent.

Unite is balloting 126 members comprising of direct manufacturing operatives, professional engineers and support staff. There are 23 workers earning just the minimum wage.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This global giant is swimming in cash while the workers in Oldham are struggling to keep their heads above water. It’s no wonder they’re voting on strike action. This is a company which can easily afford to raise salaries.”

“The workers have Unite’s full support throughout their campaign for a fair wage instead of a pay cut.”

Compiled by UniteLive team