Essex

Stansted Airport baggage handlers strike over Easter

  • 29 March 2012
  • From the section Essex

Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport in Essex have voted to strike over Easter in a row over pay.

Union members backed industrial action with a three-day strike between Good Friday to Easter Monday, but more talks could avert action, the GMB union said

The 150 baggage handlers employed by Swissport Stansted claim shift changes could cut their pay by up to £1,000.

Swissport said the airport would be open as normal and passengers should travel as no disruption was expected.

"Swissport is disappointed that the GMB trade union has decided to call industrial action. The company wants to avoid redundancies," Richard Prince, general manager said.

"The proposed changes to working patterns will achieve a proportion of the necessary savings we need to make to offset our decline in revenue and it means we will avoid job losses.

"We are not cutting peoples pay. We are not increasing the amount of hours they work.

"We are asking people to spread their contractual hours over a five-day week and not a four-day week. We are keeping people in jobs."

'Aggressive move'

Gary Pearce, from the union, said: "We have offered several alternative shift patterns and working arrangements but the company refuses to listen.

"GMB members consider that Swissport is attempting to make savings at their expense and they are not willing to agree to this.

"I have notified Swissport of the ballot result and I have asked them for more talks to try to avert action over these pay cuts.

"Unless there is urgent talks and a settlement, this vote for action will result in disruption over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

"The travelling public need to be aware that it has been this aggressive move by Swissport to cut our members pay at a time of high inflation that has led to this strike vote."

Stephen McNamara from Ryanair said the airline did not expect any disruption to flights.

He said: "We will operate flights with carry-on baggage only, thereby ensuring passengers are not held to ransom."

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