Passengers at Luton Airport warned of disruption as ground handlers, cleaners and car park staff walk out
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Workers employed by GH London Ground Handling Services Ltd will take action following a collapse in industrial relations, affecting Wizz Air flights. Union Unite says passengers flying with the airline could face substantial delays and disruption.
GH London’s operations director, Gennaro Carcassa, previously told the Luton News: “We are disappointed that Unite has chosen to subject passengers – including individuals and families hoping to get away on holiday – to potential delays and disruption. GH London has worked tirelessly with Unite to promote a great working environment for all staff, including by implementing a 19.4 per cent pay increase since late last year.”
It added that contingency plans would be put in place to minimise any disruption.
Speaking before the dates were announced, a Wizz Air spokesperson: “We are in touch with Luton Airport and our ground handling partner and are doing everything within our control to limit disruptions for passengers. In case of any disruptions, we will reach out to any affected passengers who booked directly with the airline via email and SMS and let them know their options as soon as we have an update.”
Unite says last ditch talks aimed at resolving the dispute held at the conciliation service Acas today (Tuesday) ended without agreement. There will be two further days of industrial action by GH London on September 6 and 13.
Meanwhile, cleaners working for Sasse Limited at the terminal will also walk out for 24 hours starting at 6.30am tomorrow. The workers have rejected a ‘below inflation pay increase’. Sasse Limited was approached for comment.
Both groups of workers will also be joined by car park workers employed by APCOA. The workers will strike after a ‘below inflation pay offer’.
An APCOA spokesperson said: “APCOA is working to resolve the pay dispute with Unite, but robust contingency planning has maintained parking services without disruption over the bank holiday weekend and we continue to provide excellent service to the airport and passengers.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham claimed: “Passenger delays and flight disruption are inevitable at Luton Airport tomorrow. The strike action being taken is a direct result of the companies concerned failing to treat staff fairly and decently. Unite’s focus on workers’ jobs, pay and conditions means that there is no way we will accept our members being mistreated or underpaid.”
A picket line will be in place at the airport tomorrow from 6am until noon at the Airport Way Roundabout.
Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “Unite has given all three companies every opportunity to resolve these disputes through negotiations but they all refused to make proposals which met our members’ expectations.”