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Gatwick Airport staff who assist passengers suspend strike

Two planned 48 hour stoppages involving Gatwick airport workers which were set to start tomorrow (Tuesday 20 November) and Monday 26 November have been suspended while workers vote on a revised pay offer, the Unite union announced today (Monday 19 November).

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The workers, employed by the logistics giant Wilson James, provide assistance to passengers with disabilities and those who need help getting around Gatwick airport.

The dispute centres on a demand for a £1 an hour pay rise. Those assisting disabled passengers are paid just £8.27 per hour.

Workers will now vote on whether to accept or reject a revised offer with voting closing on Monday 10 December. A third planned 48-hour stoppage on 21/23 December is set to go ahead should members reject the offer and the pay dispute remains unresolved.

Commenting Unite regional officer Jamie Major said:

“The two 48 hour stoppages in November have been suspended while members vote on whether to accept or reject a new pay offer from Wilson James.

“The last thing our members want is to cause inconvenience and distress to those passengers who rely on their services during their time at Gatwick.

“However, should they reject the new pay offer and no resolution to the dispute is found, then the possibility of a 48 hour strike in December remains live.”

Gatwick

Henry Smith MP: Reforming Air Passenger Duty

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about reforming air passenger duty to boost trade.

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One way for MPs to raise issues in Westminster is through All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These Groups typically contain members of the Commons and the Lords, and include parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.

I recently established and was elected to chair a new APPG on Air Passenger Duty Reform, which seeks to encourage the UK Government to cut the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

While the Government confirmed at the October 2018 Budget that short-haul APD rates will not rise for the eighth year in a row, keeping costs down for 80 per cent of passengers, there remains more to be done.

With the Band B long-haul rate scheduled to rise by £16 on 1st April 2019, reforming APD will help the UK compete on a level playing field with our European counterparts, boosting tourism, trade, jobs and growth.

The UK APD rate is the highest tax of its kind in the world. It is twice as high as the next highest, Germany. On long-haul flights it currently adds £78 to an economy ticket.

As we leave the European Union and look to forge a new identity for ourselves in the world as a global nation, it is critical we have a tax system that reflects that ambition.

With Gatwick Airport in the Crawley boundary, a significant reduction in the UK’s APD rate would signal to the world that Britain is open for business.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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