EasyJet reassures passengers over catering strike threat

EasyJet is seeking to reassure customers after a warning that the airline’s catering services will be affected by strike action over pay.

Trade union Unite claimed that no food or drink will be available on easyJet flights from Gatwick during a series of upcoming walkouts by catering contractors working for dnata.

But easyJet has said it will be working with dnata to ensure “contingency plans” are in place if the action goes ahead.

A spokesperson for the carrier added: “We urge dnata and Unite to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”

More:  EasyJet cabin crew set for 20% pay rise

A spokesperson for dnata’s catering business criticised Unite’s “premature“ statement about strike action, adding: “We remain committed and open to constructive dialogue and are confident that this matter will be resolved.”

Unite said strikes by dnata catering staff are scheduled to take place in April and May because of a pay dispute.

The union said the decision stems from dnata’s “unilateral removal of a shift allowance for all staff last April”.

Unite claims the move has led to dnata’s workers receiving a pay cut of between £1,500 and £2,000.

The union has criticised the catering firm for “falsely claiming” that the removal of the shift allowance was agreed to by the union as part of a deal that saw the introduction of a night shift premium.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members have run out of patience with dnata’s double-dealing and blatant dishonesty. Ending the shift allowance in return for a night premium was never part of the deal and the company knows that.

“Unite never accepts attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and dnata’s workers have their union’s total backing during these strikes.”

The dnata spokesperson said: “We are surprised and disappointed by the premature statement issued by trade union Unite regarding a proposed industrial action at Gatwick airport, stemming from a single point of disagreement where consensus has yet to be reached.

“We remain committed and open to constructive dialogue and are confident that this matter will be resolved. In the meantime, we are keeping our valued customers informed throughout this process.”

Unite said about 100 workers, including HGV drivers and warehouse workers, will strike from Friday, April 26 to Monday, April 29, then from Friday, May 3 to Monday, May 6 and from Friday, May 10 to Monday, May 13. Strike action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved, Unite said.

The union added that dnata provides catering for all easyJet flights from Gatwick, with the airline having 200 flights a day during busy periods.

Other flights will also be impacted by the strike action, Unite said, because dnata caters for several other Gatwick-based airlines including Tui.

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “Dnata needs to rapidly return to talks with Unite and put forward a settlement that is acceptable to our members.”

An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are aware of the Unite announcement related to proposed industrial action by their members working at dnata and would like to reassure customers we will be working with dnata to ensure contingency plans are in place for these dates should this action take place. We urge dnata and Unite to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”

Travel Weekly contacted Tui for comment.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.