Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL), proposed a three year deal which would have seen workers receive an increase of two per cent plus £250 for the first two years with the workforce receiving the consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate and £250 in the final year after pay negotiations began last Autumn, according to a spokesman for trade union Unite.
But a GAL spokesman said the firm is ‘keen’ to see an agreement reached.
The Unite spokesman said: “The offer is conditional on the introduction of a new starter rate which would result in new starters being paid up to £7,000 per annum less than staff undertaking the same role.
“Over 2,000 Unite members employed as security staff, firefighters, terminal operatives, surface transport workers and engineers, voted by 98 per cent to reject the offer on a turnout approaching 80 per cent.
“Unite is now seeking an urgent meeting with the company and the tabling of an improved pay offer. If this is not forthcoming then Unite will begin preparations for a full industrial action ballot.
“Members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, employed at Gatwick Airport are moving towards industrial action, following the overwhelming rejection of Gatwick Airport Limited’s (GAL) pay offer.”
If a full industrial action ballot takes place then strike action could begin during the spring and would result in widespread disruption at the airport, according to Unite.
Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “It is now incumbent on Gatwick Airport to come back with a dramatically improved pay offer which meets the workers’ pay claim.
“The airport is fantastically profitable as a result of the hard work of our members and they believe they should be properly rewarded for their hard work and loyalty.
“Unite’s members have no desire to cause disruption to the travelling public but they will not allow their pay to be cut in real terms.”
A Gatwick Airport spokesman added: “We are keen to see an agreement reached and for the focus to remain on delivering an excellent experience for our passengers this summer.”