HGV drivers employed by Alpha Flight – the sole supplier of inflight food for British Airways at Gatwick Airport – have voted for industrial action in a dispute over “broken” pay promises.
The 55 drivers, who are members of the trade union Unite, will initially undertake an overtime ban from 03:00h on Monday, 18 March until 11:59h on Friday, 22 March. This will then be followed by strike action from 03:00h on Wednesday, 27 March until 11:59h on Thursday, 28 March (all local times).
Unite said the drivers voted 98 per cent in favour of industrial action, on a turnout of 90 per cent, after Alpha Flight UK reneged on an agreement with Unite to introduce a market rate alignment pay allowance for the HGV drivers.
The union said that drivers are currently being paid well below the rates available for HGV drivers in the local area.
Unite said once industrial action begins, the ability for Alpha Flight UK to transport food from its on-site warehouse, to the aircraft will be “severely diminished” and the tight security airside at Gatwick precludes alternative solutions.
Regional officer Jamie Major said: “The industrial action ballot clearly demonstrates that our members are no longer prepared to accept low pay.
“This dispute is a direct result of Alpha Flight reneging on its promise to resolve the totally unfair situation of drivers being paid below the market rate.
“British Airways passengers who find that their flights are lacking food and water have to understand that their comfort has been compromised directly by the penny pinching of Alpha Flight.
“Even at this late stage Alpha Flight can still ensure that industrial action is avoided by coming forward with a reasonable pay offer, which meets the expectations of our members.”