Should You Panic About The “easyJet” Stansted Strike?

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43 members of check-in staff are due to go on strike at Stansted Airport. The staff, who work for Stobart Aviation, operate easyJet’s check-in operation at the airport. Unite says this could cause severe disruption for passengers.

easyJet Stobart Air Unite Strike
Unite has warned that a Stobart Aviation strike will cause severe disruption for easyJet passengers. Photo: easyJet

Unite, the union representing the workers has claimed that the 17 days of strikes will cause easyJet’s Stansted passengers to experience ‘severe disruption’. Meanwhile, easyJet told Simple Flying that contingency plans were in place. These, they say, will mean that passengers experience no disruption. Clearly, these two views are polar opposites, so who should you believe? Simple Flying takes a look into the situation.

About the strike

43 employees of Stobart Aviation are going on strike for five sets of dates:

  • 25th to 29th of July;
  • 2nd to 5th of August;
  • 9th to 12th of August;
  • 16th to 19th of August;
  • 23rd to 27th of August.

The strike is regarding pay which the Stobart Aviation employees receive. According to Unite, the union representing the employees, other workers at Stansted Airport doing the same job are being paid 20% more than the Stobart Aviation employees.

Unite goes on to mention that staff are having to work long shifts with little access to drinking water.

easyJet Stobart Air Unite Strike
easyJet claims contingency plans will mitigate the strike action. Photo: easyJet

Unite’s view

Unite issued a press release on the matter painted a picture of chaos at Stansted Airport during the strikes. The group’s regional leader commented,

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“There is no getting away from it; these 17 days of strike action will cause severe disruption to thousands of easyJet passengers using Stansted for their summer holidays.”

He went on to add: “We held talks with the bosses of Stobart Aviation Services Limited last week and they were frankly dismissive of our pay claim, with a senior manager even stating that staff are handsomely paid”.

Simple Flying contacted a representative of Unite to ask for some clarification regarding the claim of severe disruption. They told us that they stand by their press release and that it is up for passengers to decide which claim to believe.

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easyJet’s view

easyJet believes that the strike will have no direct impact on passengers traveling on these dates. An easyJet spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“We are aware dates have been published for proposed industrial action by Stobart Aviation check-in staff at London Stansted Airport. Should this go ahead we plan to have contingency arrangements in place so there should be no impact on our passengers. Despite this, we would urge Stobart Aviation and Unite to reach a suitable resolution as soon as possible.”

easyJet Stobart Air Unite Strike
The strike is planned for 17 days over July and August. Photo: easyJet

Should passengers worry?

The answer to this question entirely depends on which argument you choose to believe. Should there be severe disruption, then passengers likely should worry. However, if it is business as usual, then clearly this is a non-issue.

Personally, I feel that the actual effect of the strike action will fall somewhere in the middle. Given that the airline has 14,000 employees as of September 2018, I’m sure they have the resources to compensate for the 43 striking workers. However, there is a chance that there could be some confusion, leading to some minor disruption.

Given that this is purely speculation, I would recommend planning for disruption for any passengers booked to travel on these dates. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Additionally, there is the chance that Stobart and Unite settle their differences beforehand, therefore averting a strike altogether.

In fact, a Stobart Aviation spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“Stobart Aviation Services has, and will continue to engage with Unite and its representatives to reach an agreement on union recognition for our Front of House teams at London Stansted. We believe that our active engagement to date has resulted in good progress. We are therefore disappointed to have now received notice of potential action. However, we will continue to engage directly with Unite in order to deliver an agreement. “

Do you think easyJet’s Stansted operations will suffer disruption from the strikes? Let us know your views in the comments!

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