The Unite union has announced that nearly a thousand employees at Gatwick Airport will engage in eight days of strike action during the summer vacation in a dispute over pay.
During what may be the busiest summer season since the pandemic, the strike could cause some disruptions.
Workers at four companies include baggage handlers and ground personnel.
They will strike between Friday, July 28, and Tuesday, August 1, and again between Friday, August 4, and Tuesday, August 8.
The union stated that British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, Tui, Westjet, and Wizz will be affected.
Unite stated that disruptions, delays, and cancellations were “inevitable” despite the indeterminate nature of the action’s effects.
The 950 striking employees are employed by four companies: ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS, and DHL Services.
These businesses provide major airlines with ground handling, baggage management, and check-in services.
Unite stated that the majority of workers earn less than £12 per hour despite performing highly demanding and safety-critical duties.
“During the pandemic, many companies at Gatwick Airport laid off large numbers of employees and reduced their pay and benefits,” the report continued.
Unite has advocated for pay increases for its members, and in June, after securing a new contract, it called off a strike by security personnel at Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow.
If the action at Gatwick occurs, it will place additional strain on the aviation industry, which is already dealing with restricted airspace over Ukraine due to Russia’s conflict and the potential for air traffic control strikes.
There is a paucity of air traffic controllers, and some strikes are already scheduled; for instance, there is an air traffic strike in Italy on Saturday, 15 July, which Ryanair expects to result in flight cancellations and delays.
This week, Easyjet canceled 1,700 flights for the months of July, August, and September due to airspace restrictions over Europe and ongoing air traffic control issues.
On the 18th of July, approximately 100 airport security personnel and technicians are scheduled to strike at Birmingham Airport, but the airport has stated that if a strike does occur, its impact will be limited, with no flight cancellations.