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British Airways Gatwick passengers could face food and drink shortages as drivers vote to strike

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.



Photo for illustrative purposes only and not an example of BA food.

The 55 drivers, who are members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, will initially undertake an overtime ban from 03:00 on Monday 18 March until 11:59 on Friday 22 March.

This will then be followed by strike action from 03:00 on Wednesday 27 March until 11:59 on Thursday 28 March.

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 drivers are currently being paid well below the rates available for HGV drivers in the local area.

Once industrial action begins, the ability for Alpha Flight UK to be able to transport food from its on-site warehouse, to the planes will be severely diminished. The very tight security airside at Gatwick precludes alternative solutions.

But British Airways, who contract Alpha Flight, say they will be able to make alternative arrangements and customers should not be concerned as catering options will be provided on flights departing Gatwick.

A spokesperson for BA said:

“We are working with our supplier to ensure our customers enjoy all services onboard their flights.”

Unite 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.”


Gatwick Express team gives cash boost to Crawley charity

The Gatwick Express team has given a local charity a cash boost following a number of staff fundraising initiatives in recent months.



Maria Cook, Chair of Autism Support Crawley (left) takes delivery of a 'rail ticket cheque' from Gatwick Express managers

Autism Support Crawley, which supports children and adults on the autistic spectrum, has been given a generous donation of £1,931.15 thanks to kind-hearted Gatwick Express staff who have taken part in a series of activities at Gatwick Airport Station, including cake sales, a Christmas jumper competition and bucket appeals.

Station staff were delighted to be able to hand over a cheque to Autism Support Crawley on Tuesday, May 21 to the chairperson of the charity, Maria Cook.

She said:

“We are thrilled to receive such wonderful support from everyone at Gatwick Express.

“Their response to the voluntary work that we do for over 1,200 families across Sussex and Surrey is overwhelming. This will go a long way in helping us to continue to support families and work with lots of different professions to improve understanding, acceptance and inclusion in society,”she added.

Gatwick Express staff were inspired to support the charity after hosting a group from Autism Support Crawley for a ‘Try a Train’ event, during which autistic young people and adults were shown around the station to help them become more familiar and confident when travelling by train, as well as how to buy tickets to support more independent travel.

Gatwick area station manager David Stronell said:

“We’re really proud of all the work we have done to help the charity. The whole station has been involved in the fundraising.

“Since we started supporting the charity, it has sparked a lot of conversations and a lot of staff have talked about having children on the autistic spectrum. It has brought us all together and got people opening up about autism, which in turn has raised awareness for us all,” said David.

Charity trustee, member and service user Charlotte Gover said:

“The amazing donation from Gatwick Express will support so many of our families by enabling us to continue to provide information sessions, conferences, coffee mornings, evening meetings and much needed inclusive family events.”

Staff at Gatwick are now gearing up for their next fundraising events so watch this space!

This month also marks the 35th birthday of Gatwick Express and there have been plenty of activities going on to celebrate the occasion.

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