Union warns of “severe disruption” for easyJet passengers at Stansted Airport as strike vote looms

EasyJet operates out of Stansted Airport. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

EasyJet operates out of Stansted Airport. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO - Credit: Archant

Passengers using easyJet could face delays at Stansted Airport later this summer, if check-in staff go on strike in a pay dispute, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, warned today (June 17).

Unite represents 38 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Limited, which has the easyJet contract at the Essex airport.

The workers are being balloted on whether they wish to strike over Stobart Aviation Services' refusal to pay wages in line with similar companies at Stansted; refusal to recognise Unite as a trade union for collective bargaining purposes; and a breakdown in industrial relations. The ballot closes on July 2.

Despite Unite's claims however, easyJet have said that if a strike take place, there would be no impact on passengers thanks to their contingency plans.

Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: "If our members working on the easyJet contract vote to strike, this will cause severe disruption for the airline's passengers trying to check-in for their summer holidays."

Expla"A major bone of contention is that, while workers employed by other companies at Stansted are being paid up to 20 per cent more for doing the same job, our Stobart members work unpaid overtime, experience staffing issues and lack of basics, such as drinking water during their long shifts.

"It is no wonder there is a massive turnover of staff at Stobart Aviation Services, as they feel undervalued and are paid dismally.

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"Our members were transferred from Menzies to Stobart's about a year ago and, despite having a recognition agreement that should have carried over, Stobart bosses have blanked Unite when it comes to trade union recognition - this is unacceptable.

"There is time before the ballot result on 2 July for easyJet to exert pressure on Stobart's to settle these issues.

"Stobart has now contacted Unite to discuss the outstanding issues at a meeting on Thursday (June 20), so it is hoped that we can resolve the dispute without taking industrial action.

"However in order to focus Stobart's minds on resolving the issue swiftly there will be no calling off of the dispute until we get some acceptable proposals agreed.

"Any strike would hit easyJet's profit margins in a competitive marketplace with passengers seeking alternative travel arrangements to avoid potential travel chaos at Stansted."

A spokesman for easyJet said: "easyJet is aware of the proposed ballot on industrial action by Unite for check in staff at London Stansted Airport. If industrial action is confirmed we will have contingency plans in place so that there would be no impact on our passengers."

A spokesman for Stobart Aviation Services said: "Stobart Aviation Services is engaging with discussions scheduled for this Thursday, and aims to have a constructive dialogue."