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Strike to affect airport services

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Baggage handlers for across UK airports to go on strike on Dec. 23 & 24 ….reports Asian Lite News

nepalUnite says check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo crew at UK airports will go on strike on 23 December.
The union said more than 1,500 workers at Swissport, the world’s largest ground and cargo handler, would walk out following a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

The walk out will begin at 00.01 Friday 23 December in a long-running pay dispute.  Unite called on the management to take part in constructive negotiations under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas in a bid to avoid Christmas travel disruption at the UK’s airports.

Unite has Swissport members at the following airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Bournemouth,  Cardiff, Doncaster, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Gatwick  Glasgow,  Heathrow, Leeds/Bradford, Luton,  Manchester, Newcastle, and Southampton and Stansted.

Unite members voted by 62.5 per cent to reject a 4.65 per cent three year pay deal for 2015-2017, which the union argues, is barely keeping pace with inflation. The staff are also angry that detrimental changes to terms and conditions have been linked to the pay deal.

A spokesman for MAG, owners of Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, said: “We are aware of this potential action and are contacting the airlines which use Swissport to understand their contingency plans to minimise any disruption were the strikes to go ahead.”

A Heathrow spokesman said they expected “minimal impact for passengers” from the action.

The changes include freezing overtime payments for the foreseeable future and restructuring pay.  Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “We appreciate that this is a very busy time of year at the UK’s airports and that’s why we are calling for the company to engage in constructive talks under the auspices of Acas to resolve this dispute. Unite’s door is open 24/7 for such talks.

“Our members are only taking this industrial action as a last resort in a bid to reach a fair settlement – our members have not had a pay rise since 2014.  When you break down the headline figures – one per cent in 2015, 1.25 per cent in 2016 and 2.4 per cent in 2017 – they are barely keeping up with inflation.
The company only wants these increases to be applicable to basic pay and not the other elements that make up ‘pay’ such as overtime.

“The dispute has been compounded by the high-handed attitude of the management in making proposals that would seriously impact the workforce’s terms and conditions, such as freezing overtime payments.”

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