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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.

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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

Flights to Europe from Gatwick will be unaffected if a no-deal Brexit happens

It has been a point of much debate across Crawley and naturally within Gatwick itself.

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But today Crawley MP got confirmation that in the case of a no-deal Brexit passengers can relax as there would be no problems with flights in and out of Gatwick to Europe.

Speaking in the House of Commons Henry Smith MP asked:

“Can he (the minister) confirm that there are aviation agreements in place so that planes will be flying to and from Gatwick and other uk airports on March 30th?”

The transport secretary, while brief in response, confirmed that a whole fleet of aviation agreements are in place.

This confirmation will come as a welcome response to both airlines, airports and passengers who have been wondering for quite some time what the situation would be in if a no-deal Brexit occurred.

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