Today’s top stories…Airport strikes as pay disputes unsettled

Eight days’ of strikes at Gatwick

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August could well be the month for air travel chaos if two major Unite airport workers’ issues are not resolved soon, it was announced today, August 9.

Fresh strikes are set to affect Gatwick airport later this month, as workers take eight days of industrial action, including the August Bank Holiday weekend, in pay disputes.

The strikes will involve over 230 Unite members employed at Red Handling, a ground handling company, and Wilson James, which operates the passenger assistance contract at Gatwick. Both companies have failed to make offers that meet the workers’ expectations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Red Handling and Wilson James need to wake up and smell the coffee, other employers at the airport are prepared to pay the going rate and there is no excuse why they shouldn’t do the same. There is no way our members will accept a real terms pay cut and poverty pay.”

Strikes will take place from August 18 to 28. Around 45,000 passengers are believed to be affected.

Birmingham refueller chaos

Birmingham airport, oil company Shell and airlines are pressuring Menzies to prevent holiday strike chaos at the airport, when Unite members take all out indefinite strike action over pay from August 15.

Involved are Unite refuelling tanker drivers and operators, responsible for refuelling three quarters of the airport’s planes working for Menzies.  

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Our members at Menzies are crucial to the running of Birmingham Airport. Yet Menzies is refusing to fairly share the massive profits that are being made because of these highly skilled workers. This is just greed and Menzies’ clients and service users are right to pressure it to end this dispute. Menzies’ needs to put forward an offer our members can accept.”

Menzies’ most recent annual report shows it had revenues of over £1bn in 2021 with operating profits of £60.4m, while its Birmingham refuellers received a below inflation (RPI) pay rise last year and have been offered another one this year.

Compiled by Amanda Campbell