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Published on Friday, July 12, 2019

EasyJet faces 17 days of summer strike action by staff at Stansted

EasyJet has insisted it has contingency plans in place for potential strike action by its check-in staff at London Stansted starting later this month.

Unite the union says thousands of easyJet passengers could face delays at the airport as check-in staff announce plans to strike for 17 days in a long-running pay dispute.

The strike dates are July 25-29, August 2-5, August 9-12, August 16-19 and August 23-27.

"We are aware dates have been published for proposed industrial action by Stobart Aviation check in staff at London Stansted Airport," said a spokesman for easyJet.

"Should this go ahead we plan to have contingency arrangements in place so there should be no impact on our passengers. Despite this we would urge Stobart Aviation and Unite to reach a suitable resolution as soon as possible." 

But 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.

"The scandal that Stobart's chief executive Warwick Brady could pocket a £30 million bonus leaves a very sour taste in the mouth for our low paid Stobart members working as easyJet check-in staff at Stansted Airport."

He said at talks with Stobart Aviation Services last week, bosses were 'frankly dismissive' of its pay claim, with a senior manager even stating that staff are handsomely paid, but they were 'evasive and shifty' on the £30 million bonus issue.

"Our members have to have background security checks and risk facing verbal and even physical abuse from stressed-out passengers, - but there always seem to be enough money sloshing around for big bonuses at the top," said Barter.

"However, our members' pay is languishing far behind others doing the same job at the airport, so then to be told that they are handsomely paid is quite frankly insulting.

"Our members were originally transferred from Menzies to Stobart's, but ever since then, despite having a recognition agreement that should have carried over, Stobart bosses have blanked Unite when it comes to trade union recognition - this is unacceptable.

"Stobart's business model at the airport is unsustainable and the boardroom disputes with shareholders only add to these concerns which should raise concerns for anyone either considering investing or giving a contract to Stobart.

"Any strike would also hit easyJet's profit margins in a competitive marketplace with passengers now seeking alternative travel arrangements to avoid potential travel chaos at Stansted."

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