Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Airport cleaners to hold second week-long strike

Unite workers on a picket line Image copyright Unite
Image caption Cleaners who are members of the union Unite took part in a previous strike from 4 to 11 December

Airport cleaners are to stage a second seven day-strike over Christmas in a dispute over wages.

The Unite union said by 2021 cleaners employed by Sasse at London Luton Airport would not be earning "a real living wage".

Sasse has yet to comment but previously said it had offered "a pay rise above National Minimum Wage".

The airport said it would not comment on the dispute but was working to minimise any effect on passengers.

The first strike started on 4 December and ended on Tuesday evening. The new action is set to take place between 06:30 GMT on 21 December and 06:29 on 28 December.

The union said workers could not make ends meet on the National Living Wage of £7.83 an hour.

A three-year pay deal offered by Sasse, meant workers would still be earning below the "real living wage" by 2021, a spokesman added.

Jeff Hodge, regional officer for Unite, said: "The cleaners are fighting against poverty pay this Christmas because Luton Airport and Sasse refuse to recognise the real hardship the workers and their families face."

Image caption The second week-long strike is set to take place between 06:30 GMT on Friday, 21 December and 06:29 on Friday, 28 December

The airport has refused to intervene in the dispute, and says it encourages its contractors pay at least the voluntary "real living wage", which was raised to £9 outside the capital last month.

An airport spokesman added: "Whilst we cannot comment on the dispute, we are working hard to ensure there is no disruption to our passengers."

Sasse has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.

During the first strike, Benny Wunderlich, Managing Director of Sasse UK, said the company had "actively worked in partnership with Unite to achieve a sustainable pay deal", and had offered "a pay rise above National Minimum Wage".

"We have proposed 9% over 3 years which we believe is a realistic offer. As a service provider to Luton Airport we work hard to keep disruption to passengers to a minimum," he added.

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