Hopes of resolving the forthcoming strike involving security workers at Gatwick airport have receded, after the employer ICTS (UK), threatened to illegally sack workers who take part in legal industrial action.

More than 130 members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, who are employed to scan passengers’ luggage for explosive items and other prohibitive materials, are due to begin a 48 hour strike from 06:00 on Saturday 10 August.

 Rather than enter into negotiations to resolve the dispute, ICTS 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 has totally refuted ICTS’ allegations that the strike is unlawful in any way. The workers voted by 95 per cent in favour of industrial action.

The dispute concerns pay, with the majority of the workforce receiving just £8.50 an hour and they are seeking a 50 pence an hour increase, which would boost their pay to the real living wage of £9 an hour.

If the strike goes ahead it is likely to cause considerable delays and disruption at the airport.

As a result of the threats from ICTS Unite has announced a further four days of strike action beginning on Tuesday 20 August ending on Saturday 24 August.

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.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.