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Passengers to face severe delays this summer if pay strike goes ahead, union warns

PUBLISHED: 07:15 19 June 2019

Unite trade union has warned easyJet passengers could be hit if workers vote to strike against Stobart Aviation Services. Photo: PA Images.

Unite trade union has warned easyJet passengers could be hit if workers vote to strike against Stobart Aviation Services. Photo: PA Images.

PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of easyJet passengers setting off from London Stansted this summer could face "severe disruption" if check-in staff go ahead with a proposed strike.

Unite trade union has warned passengers could be hit if workers vote to strike as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

The union represents 38 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Service Limited - which has the easyJet contract at the airport.

In a ballot, which closes on July 2, workers will vote on whether to strike or not.

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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.

"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."

Stobart Aviation Services has said it aims to have "a constructive dialogue" with the union during Thursday's meeting.

It also said its pay and overtime pay was in line with market rates and employees received a pay rise as recently as March.

The firm disputed the union's claims there had been a lack of drinking water.

A Stobart spokesman added: "We take health and safety extremely seriously and all employees have access to welfare facilities on site. These include water coolers both airside and landside."

If talks between Stobart and the Union were to break down eastJet has made moves to reassure passengers.

An airline spokesman added: "If industrial action is confirmed we will have contingency plans in place so there would be no impact on our passengers."

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