London’s Gatwick airport faces eight days of strikes this month

LONDON (Reuters) -Around 230 workers at London Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport, will take eight days of strike action this month over pay disputes, the Unite trade union said on Wednesday, warning of flight disruptions during the peak summer travel period.

Ground handlers, passenger assistance and other airport workers at Gatwick have been negotiating with various employers including Red Handling, Wilson James, Menzies and ASC, in separate pay disputes.

Last month some planned strikes were called off after workers received improved pay offers. However on Wednesday Unite said workers from Red Handling and Wilson James would take industrial action.

The latest strikes, which will take place in various tranches from Aug. 18-28, ending on the day of a bank holiday for most of Britain, will disrupt or delay over 200 flights during the first four days, Unite 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,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.

“There is no way our members will accept a real terms pay cut and poverty pay.”

Hundreds of thousands of workers in Britain have been taking strike action since last year as pay rises fail to keep up with high inflation.

A Gatwick spokesperson said the airport would support airlines and other companies in their contingency planning for the strikes to ensure as many flights as possible run on schedule.

“We … encourage staff at Wilson James, Red Handling and their union to reach a resolution,” the spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; editing by William James)