Chessington engineers plan to strike on May bank holidays

Chessington World of Adventure is facing severe disruption over the spring holiday season as engineers plan to stage four weekend strikes in a dispute over pay.

They’re having a giraffe: safety workers at Chessington will down tools over four weekends in May

The highly trained engineers are responsible for the smooth running of the park, including ensuring that its safety systems on its high adrenaline rides are fully operational.

Calling for a pay rise in line with the real rate of inflation – RPI is currently at 13.5per cent – the workers are planning to strike in four blocks in May, including the May Day weekend, the Coronation weekend and the late spring bank holiday.

Merlin Attractions operate Chessington and a global chain of theme parks, including the Legoland brand, as well as Thorpe Park and Alton Towers. The Chessington workers’ union, Unite, say that Merlin “is attempting to impose a real terms pay cut” on its engineers.

Day tickets to the theme park and zoo at Chessington can cost up to £60 per person. According to its latest set of accounts, in 2021 Merlin Attractions made £87million profit as the company recovered strongly from the previous year’s covid lockdown.

The strike days planned for Chessington World of Adventure are:

  • From Friday April 28 to midnight on bank holiday Monday May 1
  • From Friday May 5 to midnight on Coronation bank holiday Monday May 8
  • From Friday May 12 to midnight Monday May 15
  • From Friday May 26 to midnight bank holiday Monday May 29

“Merlin Attractions is an extremely wealthy company which is anticipating a bumper year. It can fully afford to make a fair pay offer to its workers, but it has chosen not to do so,” said Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary.

“The engineers are critical to the safe and smooth operation of Chessington, so their employer should be rewarding them for their vital work instead of seeking to impose a real-terms pay cut.

“Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members. Our engineers at Chessington will receive the union’s complete support.”

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