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No food or drink on easyJet flights as catering staff strike

Passengers board an easyJet plane
Passengers board an easyJet plane

Holidaymakers travelling from Gatwick on easyJet and Tui flights have been warned that they will have no access to food or drink in the coming weeks as catering staff go on strike.

The Unite union said a series of walkouts by airline provider Dnata’s catering staff will take place from Friday April 26 in a dispute over the removal of a shift allowance, which the union argued has cost workers between £1,500 and £2,000 each.

The union has also accused the Emirates Group-owned caterer of falsely claiming that it “agreed to the removal as part of a deal that saw the introduction of a night shift premium”.

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“Strike action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved,” the union warned. It added that the lack of food and drink sales on strike days “will affect easyJet’s revenue as the sale of snacks and beverages on flights is a major income generator”.

Around 100 workers, including drivers and warehouse workers, will strike from Friday April 26 to Monday April 29, from Friday May 3 to Monday May 6, and from Friday May 10 to Monday May 13.

Dnata caters for several Gatwick-based airlines, including Tui and easyJet.

An easyJet spokesman said that they are “aware of the Unite announcement related to proposed industrial action by their members working at Dnata, and would like to reassure customers we will be working with Dnata to ensure contingency plans are in place for these dates should this action take place. We urge Dnata and Unite to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”

EasyJet insisted that contingency plans mean the airline will still be able to provide refreshments, such as water.

Its longest flight, from Manchester to Hurghada International Airport in Egypt, is five and a half hours – only slightly shorter than one of the quickest transatlantic routes.

“I have never seen as much food and drink sold on a flight as I have on this one,” a writer for travel blog The Points Guy wrote after taking the flight. “The man sitting in front of me bought eight drinks at once (six white wines and two Heineken beers).”

Tui had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Unite’s regional officer Dominic Rothwell accused Dnata of taking its “workers for fools” adding that it needed to “rapidly return to talks with Unite and put forward a settlement that is acceptable to our members”.

The move marks the latest in a long line of walkouts impacting travel in Britain, with a fresh wave of strikes announced earlier this month.

More than 600 UK Border Force officers at Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, were due to strike the week of April 8, while rail workers have just held a series of one-day strikes over pay.

Dnata has been reached for comment.

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