easyJet passengers face summer strikes by check-in staff at Stansted Airport
A strike by check-in staff at Stansted Airport could cause severe delays for easyJet passengers this summer, a union is warning.
Unite is balloting 38 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Ltd, which serves the airline at the Essex hub.
The union claims the company refuses to pay wages in line with similar companies at Stansted, refuses to recognise Unite as a trade union for collective bargaining purposes and there has been a breakdown in industrial relations. The ballot closes on Tuesday July 2.
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.
"A major bone of contention is that while workers employed by other companies at Stansted are being paid up to 20% 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's no wonder there's a massive turnover of staff at Stobart Aviation Services as they feel undervalued and are paid dismally.
"Our members were transferred from Menzies to Stobart 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's time before the ballot result on July 2 for easyJet to exert pressure on Stobart to settle these issues.
"Stobart has now contacted Unite to discuss the outstanding issues at a meeting on Thursday (June 20), so it's 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."
Stobart Aviation Services said: “Stobart Aviation Services is engaging with discussions scheduled for this Thursday and aims to have a constructive dialogue.”