No food or drink on Gatwick easyJet flights as Unite catering workers strike over pay

An easyJet aeroplane at Gatwick Airport  (PA Wire)
An easyJet aeroplane at Gatwick Airport (PA Wire)

No food or drink will be available on any easyJet flight leaving Gatwick Airport for several days in April and May if a union goes ahead with a planned strike over pay.

Unite announced on Friday that members of Dnata (Dubai National Air Travel Agency), which provides catering in 84 countries worldwide, will not work on 12 days.

The strikes by the company’s catering staff, which will also impact other airlines including TUI, are over the company’s “unilateral removal of a shift allowance for all staff last April”.

Unite said the move has led to all Dnata’s workers receiving a pay cut of between £1,500 and £2,000 per worker.

The union’s 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.”

Around 100 workers, including HGV drivers and warehouse workers, will strike from Friday, April 26, to Monday, April 29; 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.

Dnata caters for all easyJet flights from Gatwick, with the airline having 200 flights a day during busy periods, meaning there will be no food or drink available on any of the airlines’ flights from the airport between those dates.

The lack of food and drink will affect easyJet’s revenue as the sale of snacks and beverages on flights is a major income generator.

Other flights will also be impacted as Dnata caters for several other Gatwick-based airlines, including TUI.

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said: “Dnata’s behaviour has been atrocious. It beggars’ belief that the company thought it could take its workers for fools and deal with them in such an underhand manner.

“It has pushed the workforce into taking strike action and is responsible for the inconvenience it will cause to easyJet and TUI passengers.

“Dnata needs to rapidly return to talks with Unite and put forward a settlement that is acceptable to our members.”

An easyJet spokesman 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.”

Gatwick Airport has given no comment.

Dnata and TUI have been approached for comment.