EasyJet check-in staff at Stansted airport have announced 17 days’ strike action amid an ongoing pay dispute with employer Stobart Aviation.
The Unite union represents 43 check-in officials employed by Stobart, which operates the easyJet contract at the Essex airport.
Unite says Stobart is refusing to pay wages in line with similar companies at Stansted while refusing to recognise Unite as a representative.
Members will walk out from Thursday 25 July, with Unite predicting “check-in chaos” for passengers. EasyJet, Stobart and the airport, though, all say their contingency plans should mitigate any impact of the strikes on passengers.
The proposed strike dates run 25-29 July, 2-5 August, 9-12 August, 16-19 August and 23-27 August.
“There is no getting away from it; these 17 days of strike action will cause severe disruption to thousands of easyJet passengers using Stansted for their summer holidays,” said Mark Barter, Unite regional officer.
“A major bone of contention is workers employed by other companies at Stansted being paid up to 20% more for doing the same job. Our Stobart members experience staffing issues, lack basics such as drinking water during their long shifts, and many other smaller but none the less important issues that are ignored due to not having proper trade union recognition.”
The union says Stobart has been “dismissive” of its play claim and is planning to meet with government conciliation service Acas ahead of the strike.
“There is a window of opportunity for the management to sit down with Unite and hold constructive talks to resolve this strike before the travel chaos kicks in on 25 July,” Barter added.
“Unite’s door is always open for such negotiations, but there does have to be a genuine attempt from Stobart’s to address our members’ concerns rather than simply stalling for time.”
A Stobart Group spokesperson said: “Stobart Aviation Services has and will continue to engage with Unite and its representatives to reach an agreement on union recognition for our front of house teams at London Stansted.
“We believe our active engagement to date has resulted in good progress. We are therefore disappointed to have now received notice of potential action. However, we will continue to engage directly with Unite in order to deliver an agreement. We have contingency plans in place to manage the impact on passengers.”
An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are aware dates have been published for proposed industrial action by Stobart Aviation check-in staff at London Stansted airport. Should this go ahead, we plan to have contingency arrangements in place so there should be no impact on our passengers.
"Despite this, we would urge Stobart Aviation and Unite to reach a suitable resolution as soon as possible.”