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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.”


Crawley MP Henry Smith launches aviation recovery plan



Crawley MP and Future of Aviation Group Chair Henry Smith has launched the Group’s Aviation Recovery Plan to support the sector through the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henry said;

“I’ve established and Chair the Future of Aviation Group, a cross-party coalition of MPs supporting the sector and urging the Government to take further action to assist this world-class industry.

“While Government deserves credit for stepping in and furloughing around 44,000 airline employees, it’s clear that the aviation sector needs further support for its employees.

“With Gatwick Airport in our borough boundary I’ve been clear that aviation’s recovery is not only about flights and trade, but what this vital sector means to hard-working families and whose employees have, in many cases, given significant periods of their lives to their careers.

“For their security we’re calling for a sector-specific extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“I’m asking the Transport Secretary and his Cabinet colleagues to support the Future of Aviation Group’s Aviation Recovery Plan, which has protecting jobs and supporting businesses at its heart.”

The points included in the plan are;

    1: Introduce COVID-19 testing

    2: Introduce regional travel corridors

    3: An employment support package to March 2021

    4: Support the green recovery

    5: Take action on business rates

    6: Temporary suspension of Air Passenger Duty

    7: Support for UK travel inbound tourism

    8: Absorption of CAA/NATS charges for 2020-21

    9: Airspace modernisation

    10: Bring forward public procurement and accelerate public investment

Henry continued;

“It’s estimated that it could take a number of years to get international travel figures up to 2019 levels. We’ve heard the warnings, and it is time for action.

“The scale of the challenges encountered by the aviation, travel and tourism sectors would have been unimaginable only six months ago.

“Through the adoption of these and other policy recommendations being made by the Future of Aviation Group, the Government can reduce the scale of disruption of COVID-19 on this important industry for Crawley and UK-wide.”

The Future of Aviation Group’s Aviation Recovery Plan can be read here

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