Gatwick airport is set to be disrupted by eight days of strike action over the next month.
The Unite union confirmed that 950 ASC, Menzies Aviation, GGS and DHL Services Ltd employees will walk out in a dispute over pay.
Unite said members would strike for four days from Friday 28 July to Tuesday 1 August, and then again from Friday 4 August to Tuesday 8 August.
The companies are employed by carriers including British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, TUI, WestJet and Wizz Air, to outsource ground handling, baggage handling, ramp agent, dispatcher and check in agent roles.
Unite said that it had been in negotiations with the firms since January, “but they all have failed to make offers that meets the workers’ expectations”.
The union said that “While the workers are on varying rates of pay, the majority are paid on average under £12 an hour, despite undertaking highly demanding and safety critical roles”.
Unite also said that it was balloting members at DHL Gatwick Direct, Red Handling and Wilson James, all of which could walk out by the middle of August if they vote for industrial action.
The news follows months of strike action involving security workers at Heathrow airport, although the latest round of walkouts was postponed following an improved pay offer.
Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham said that its members at Gatwick airport “undertake incredibly demanding roles and are essential to keeping the airport and airlines working, yet their employers somehow think it is acceptable to pay them a pittance”, while Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell commented:
“Strike action will inevitably cause severe delays, disruption and cancellations across Gatwick’s operations but this dispute is entirely of the companies own making. They have had every opportunity to make our members’ a fair pay offer but have chosen not to do so.”
This week easyJet announced plans to cut around 1,700 flights from its Gatwick summer schedules, as a result of “challenging conditions” due to ATC strikes and the ongoing war in Ukraine.