Gatwick Airport passengers are set to face 'considerable delays' after workers voted to go on strike.
According to a spokesman for Unite, more than 130 members of UK and Ireland’s largest union who are employed to scan passengers’ luggage for explosive items and other prohibitive materials were due to begin a 48 hour strike from 6am on Saturday (August 10).
They claimed that instead of negotiating to prevent the strike, the employer ICTS (UK) 'has instead twice written to Unite claiming the strike is ‘illegal’ and if workers take industrial action then it “may result in disciplinary action being taken against them; up to and including dismissal.”'
Unite denied ICTS’ allegations that the strike was unlawful, adding that the workers voted by 95 per cent in favour of industrial action.
As a result, the strike would still go ahead and four more days of action were announced, from Tuesday, August 20 to Saturday, August 24.
If the strikes do go ahead, the spokesman said it is 'likely to cause considerable delays and disruption at the airport'.
Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “The behaviour of ICTS is deplorable, rather than seeking to resolve the dispute through negotiation they have instead decided to threaten and intimidate our members.
“Rather than scare our members into submission this hamfisted attempt at intimidation has instead strengthened members’ resolve to secure a decent rate of pay.
“Our members undertake a crucial role which keeps passengers and airport workers safe, it is simply astonishing they are paid below the living wage for the work they do.
“If ICTS wishes to resolve the dispute, then the company needs to drop the threats, sit down at the negotiating table and end poverty pay rates for its members.”
According to Unite, they are seeking a 50 pence an hour increase to the workers' income, which would boost their pay from £8.50 to the real living wage of £9 an hour.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: "We have been reassured by ICTS that the mitigation plans in place mean that flights will not be impacted at Gatwick. In the interests of our passengers, we continue to encourage both sides in this dispute to work towards a resolution.”
The paper attempted to approach ICTS for comment
The strike has since been suspended, read more here.