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Gatwick Airport workers balloted for strikes over pay

“The current pay of £8.27 an hour for our members is less than the voluntary UK living wage”, says regional officer at Unite, Jamie Major.

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Workers at Gatwick Airport are being balloted for strike action in a row over a ‘massive inequality’ in pay.

Unite has served a strike ballot notice and will start sending ballot papers for strike action to its 254 members employed by logistics giant Wilson James at Gatwick on Monday 15 October. The ballot closes on 29 October.

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The dispute centres on a demand for a £1 an hour pay rise for the year starting 1 April 2018 to begin to bridge the gap with those airport staff pushing luggage trollies who earn significantly more than Wilson James staff. Those assisting disabled passengers are paid just £8.27 per hour.

Last month, Wilson James assisted more than 56,000 passengers through the airport, which Unite calculates as a total of an estimated 670,000 a year.

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “Our members take their responsibilities to the hundreds of thousands passengers they care for during their time at Gatwick very seriously – however, this blatant pay inequality can’t continue any longer.

“We calculate that our members look after 670,000 assisted passengers a year, many with disabilities, which is a big responsibility and should be valued appropriately by the employer.

“There is no rhyme nor reason why pushing luggage is valued more than helping people – perhaps, it’s because airlines can charge more for heavy luggage to increase profits.

“It remains a mystery to our members. Gatwick Airport needs to get its priorities right, otherwise it will suffer huge reputational damage.

Jamie continued: “The current pay of £8.27 an hour for our members is less than the voluntary UK living wage which is currently £8.75 outside London – and the south east is one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

“If our members vote for strike action, this will adversely affect the Gatwick ‘experience’ for disabled travellers in the run-up to the peak Christmas holiday season.

“We wish to avoid any distress to disabled passengers and that’s why we are asking Wilson James management to get around the table to negotiate constructively to resolve this dispute.”

Gatwick

Criminals beware, Project Servator has launched at Gatwick and it WILL spot you!

Unpredictable, that’s the key word for the project launched at Gatwick Airport for the first time, ensuring that security checks are performed without any notice.

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In this day and age we all feel a sense of safety whenever we see a police patrol going about their business.  None more so than at an airport.

“deter, detect and disrupt hostile reconnaissance”

Now Gatwick has gone one step further and adopted the national project Servator that has performed so well up and down the country.

Inspector James Biggs from the Gatwick Police Prevention Team explained:

“Project Servator is a project initiated by the city of London police that has now gone nationwide including railway stations and airports.

It’s designed to deter, detect and disrupt the hostile reconnaissance coming to the airport and places of interest.  That’s all levels of criminality from shoplifters to terrorists.

The project has been live nationwide for a number of a years which is why we adopted it here.”

But what is it?

The aim is be as unpredictable as possible and run security checks utilising all arms of the available resources available to the police, from uniformed to plain clothed and armed officers.  Additionally the use of dogs and the sophisticated CCTV and number plate recognition software all combine to create the airports very own ring of steel.

The officers have been specially trained to detect people who may come to the airport and act in a different manner.  Something not easy in an environment as busy as Gatwick where the people change every single hour and day.

But it is not just within the airport buildings that the project is undertaken.

Road checkpoints have also been set up ensuring that if anyone even thinks about getting close to the airport for wrong reasons then they will have no choice but to come face to face with the police.

Whilst the whole project is all about being unpredictable and therefore catching out would-be criminals, there is an additional side that could be witnessed first hand while watching the officers in action.

Smiles on the faces of passengers.

The very presence, the interaction and the belief that Gatwick is showing that safety is of paramount importance to all who both work and travel through the airport.

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