Thousands of easyJet passengers could face severe delays at London Stansted Airport as check-in staff are set to strike for 17 days in a long-running pay dispute, the trade union Unite has said.
Unite represents 43 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Limited, which has the easyJet contract at the Essex airport. The strikes are set to start from Thursday 25 July on the eve of the peak holiday season.
Unite said it “apologises in advance” to affected passengers, and added the best way to help avoid the dispute is if the public contacts easyJet and asks the airline to insist that Stobart does everything it can to genuinely resolve the situation.
Workers voted unanimously to strike over the company’s refusal to pay wages in line with similar companies at Stansted; the refusal to recognise Unite as a trade union for collective bargaining purposes; and a breakdown in industrial relations.
The strike dates are set to take place from 25-29 July; 2-5 August; 9-12 August; 16-19 August; and 23-27 August.
Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: “There is no getting away from it; these 17 days of strike action will cause severe disruption to thousands of easyJet passengers using Stansted for their summer holidays.
“A major bone of contention is that workers employed by other companies at Stansted are being paid up to 20 per cent more for doing the same job.
“But our Stobart members experience staffing issues, a lack of basics such as drinking water during their long shifts and many other smaller but none the less important issues that are ignored due to not having proper trade union recognition.
“It is no wonder there is a massive turnover of staff at Stobart Aviation Services, as they feel undervalued and are paid dismally.”
Barter said talks have been with chiefs at Stobart Aviation Services Limited and they were “frankly dismissive” of the union’s pay claim.
He added: “There is a window of opportunity for the management to sit down with Unite and hold constructive talks to resolve this strike before the travel chaos kicks in on 25 July.
“Unite’s door is always open for such negotiations, but there does have to be a genuine attempt from Stobart’s to address our members’ concerns rather than simply stalling for time.”