By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent
Workers who assist passengers at one of the country’s busiest airports will stage a series of strikes in a dispute over pay.
Members of the Unite union at Gatwick Airport who are employed by a logistics firm, whose duties include helping disabled travellers, will walk out for 48 hours from 5am on November 20 and 26 and December 21.
The row centres on a claim for a pay rise of £1 an hour, with Unite saying the workers earn less than other staff employed by the same firm – Wilson James.
Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “Our members have given us an overwhelming mandate for strike action in their dispute over this massive inequality in pay.
“We now have a generous window of opportunity for the management to sit down with us and negotiate a decent pay award before the six days of strike action kick in this month and in December.
“The last thing our members want is to cause inconvenience and distress to those passengers who rely on their services during their time at Gatwick Airport but they feel they have been forced into a corner by a tight-fisted management who refuse to address the pay inequality issue.
“There is no rhyme nor reason why pushing luggage is valued more than helping people.”
A Gatwick spokesman said: “We encourage both sides to continue discussions and to work for an outcome to resolve the dispute.
“The welfare of our passengers remains our top priority however and we remain confident that services at the airport will not be disrupted as Wilson James has a range of mitigation measures ready to put into place should strike action take place.”
A spokesman for Wilson James said: “We are disappointed in this ballot decision but we remain committed to continuing the dialog in good faith with our colleagues at Unite to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome.
“In the meantime we are preparing contingency plans to minimise passenger disruption during the periods identified for industrial action.”