The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 25th January 2019

Balloting at Gatwick

by New Worker correspondent

GUARDS at London’s Gatwick Airport are balloting for strike action over their demand for a £1 per hour pay increase to bring their pay up to a magnificent £9 per hour. Employed by OCS Manned Guarding they are paid £8 per hour, which is all they got in 2007. OCS is only offering a 4.5 per cent pay increase.

They are responsible for guarding staff at all the vehicle barriers into Gatwick’s service areas. A strike would disrupt all supplies, fuel and materials coming to the airport, as well as causing disruption on the surrounding roads. Unite regional officer Jamie Major observed: “The hardworking and dedicated staff have kept the airport secure for years, but their loyalty has been treated with disdain by management. As the workers have not received a rise for over a decade, they would need a 40 per cent pay increase to restore their earnings to the real terms level it was in 2007.

“There is absolutely no justification for OCS to refuse this very modest pay rise and it’s a disgrace how these workers have been treated.”

The workers have only recently joined Unite so it is encouraging to see newly organised workers taking at least the first stages of industrial action.

Also balloting are Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) members employed by Ericsson, the Swedish multinational networking and telecom company, who are concluding voting on an above inflation pay rise a whole nine months after the 2018 pay rise became due. The hard won offer was secured after the workers rejected by 97—3 per cent against a deal that would have resulted in eight out of ten employees receiving nothing at all.

CWU Assistant secretary Allan Eldred said that that was a decisive factor in getting the company back to the negotiating table. The new offer is a flat-rate payment of £290 that will be paid to everyone in Ericsson’s field Services Operations bargaining unit. The deal also includes a four per cent increase to shift, on-call, and climbing and rigging allowances.

The 2019 part of the settlement provides, for the first time in years, consolidated increases to individuals whose current pay rates are already 20 per cent above the ‘industry benchmark’.

Urging approval, Allan Eldred said: “In large part because of the strength of members’ resolve to achieve a fair pay settlement, as demonstrated in last August’s consultative ballot, we’ve moved from a situation where the company thought it could get away with paying 80 per cent of its employees no increase at all for 2018, to one where everyone receives something.