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18 Oct 2016

BY Tom Parry

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Gatwick braces as union walkouts threatened

Holidaymakers could face pre-Christmas travel chaos after unions at Gatwick moved to vote on strike action.

Gatwick control tower with aircraft 11111
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Holidaymakers could face pre-Christmas travel chaos after unions at Gatwick move for strike action

A number of staff including firefighters, security personnel and maintenance workers are all preparing to vote on a possible walkout at the

Sussex terminal in a dispute over pensions, The Daily Telegraph reports.

 

The potential industrial action comes after Gatwick’s owner, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), said it would close worker’s final salary pension scheme following a reported shortfall of £90million.

 

A Gatwick security worker told The Sun they believed the company was attempting to push through the pension change without consulting with unions first.

 

“They are trying to bulldoze it through even though they’ve just announced record profits. If there is no fire service it could shut down the whole airport,” the worker said.

 

Earlier this year, Gatwick announced a 77% rise in pre-tax profits to £141million.

 

A spokesperson for the Unite union said its members were “understandably angry”.

 

“Gatwick is highly profitable and we believe rather than closing the scheme, steps can be made to make up the modest shortfall in the scheme,” the spokesperson added.

 

Unions at the airport are required to give Gatwick bosses a period of at least seven days notice before a walkout.

 

A spokesperson for Gatwick said: "Gatwick Airport, like any business, will regularly monitor reward packages to ensure that they remain competitive and to safeguard the long-term future for our employees, passengers and local community.

 

"We fully appreciate that pensions are a personal and sensitive topic and it goes without saying that we are taking this forward in a collaborative manner. We will continue to engage, consult and collect the views of employees and encourage members of the defined benefits plan to use the consultation process to air views, understand the issues facing the scheme and ask questions."

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