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Gatwick workers balloted over pay as possibility of strike action still looms

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Workers at Gatwick airport are to be balloted on an improved pay offer following eleventh hour negotiations.

Members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, employed as security guards, engineers, firefighters and admin staff are being recommended to accept a revised offer of 6.5 per cent in a proposed two year pay deal. The offer is for a four per cent increase backdated to October 2017 and then 2.5 per cent from October 2018. The increase is on basic pay and allowances.

Ballot papers for strike action were due to be sent out next Tuesday (3 April) after talks hosted by the conciliation service Acas, collapsed without agreement last week. However Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) management, resurrected negotiations today (29 March) and made the improved pay offer.

One staff member speaking anonymously said:

“Gatwick are not listening.  Making a million a day and bringing in new contract staff on less than others.”

The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that an internal notice about the new offer put up by Gatwick appeared to miss-state the situation.

The original statement read:

‘I’m pleased to say that we have now concluded these discussions and reached a deal that all parties are agreed.’

This angered many staff and after being told Gatwick did eventually change it to:

‘I’m pleased to say that all parties have reached a deal, which the unions have agreed to put to their members via a ballot.’

There is a 3 week balloting period after which a decision will be reached as to whether staff are to accept the revised proposals, but if not then strike action is certainly still a possibility.

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said:

“The improved pay offer has been achieved as Unite members have shown total solidarity and demonstrated they would not be divided. Unite’s reps at GAL are a credit to the entire union.

“It is now up to members to decide whether they wish to endorse this pay offer.”

Gatwick

Gatwick launches UK’s first electric car sharing service

The 100% electric vehicles produce zero emissions which supports Gatwick’s carbon neutral status.

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Ten 'Blue City' electric cars on Gatwick's airfield.

In a UK airport first, passengers, staff and local residents can now reserve and pick up a 100% electric car at Gatwick – and return it to any of 300 compatible pick up/ drop off points across London or back at Gatwick – the airport announced yesterday.

The service – similar to schemes popular in other parts of the world – is being rolled out in partnership with Bluecity, the only company to operate a pan-London electric vehicle car sharing service with 100 cars currently available in total.

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Discussions are also ongoing with local authorities and business groups about expanding the network further in London and in areas surrounding the airport.

Operating in a similar way to existing cycle schemes across the capital, ten cars and charging points are currently available on Gatwick’s South Terminal forecourt. This is Bluecity’s first airport hub and discussions are in progress to increase capacity.

The new point to point service gives people using the airport a convenient, zero emissions travel option for getting directly on and off the airport and is purposely designed to be easy to locate and use, with customers able to reserve a car in seconds via the Bluecity app.

Local residents are also encouraged to use the service and Gatwick staff have also been offered the opportunity to trial the service for free.

A standard journey in a Bluecity car from central London is also an affordable travel option to the airport. The four-seater’s drive from Central London to the very front of the airport will cost around £15 in moderate traffic.

The service is also flexible and works both ways, so that those travelling to Gatwick from the capital can pick up a car at any of the London-based charging points and drop it off at the airport.

Car sharing is also growing in popularity in the UK and this new partnership represents another first in Gatwick’s journey to be the UK’s most sustainable airport. Gatwick is accredited as a carbon neutral airport, uses 100% renewable electricity and 44% of passengers currently get to the airport by public transport.

The 24,000 staff on Gatwick’s airport campus and local residents are also being encouraged to use the new electric car sharing service.

Gatwick Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer Guy Stephenson said:

“Gatwick leads the way on airport innovation and this UK airport first not only offers a new, flexible option for getting on and off the airport, it also improves air quality.

“When it comes to electric car sharing schemes, few companies have experienced the success of Bluecity and its parent company. Given the popular demand for similar electric car sharing services in other parts of the world, this new service has the potential to take off in the UK and we are proud to be at the forefront of this transport revolution.”

Bluecity’s Managing Director Christophe Arnaud said:

“We are particularly proud of this milestone agreement with Gatwick Airport and look forward to our collaboration for years to come. We believe this new service is a fantastic solution for travellers. Our cars are powered exclusively with 100% renewable energy making the service the greenest and most affordable transport option to and from Central London.”

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