Gatwick Bank Holiday baggage strike announced

15-08-2008

Gatwick Bank Holiday baggage strike announced
Baggage handlers and check-in staff are set to strike next week on Bank Holiday Monday, according to trade union Unite.

The action could be followed with further walkouts on Friday August 29th, the union said.

Unite claims 72 per cent of its 300 members at Gatwick voted in favour of the action, which is over a pay dispute.

Employer Swissport is offering workers a three per cent payrise, but staff say this is well below inflation and unacceptable. Unite is asking for a five per cent pay rise, in line with the retail price index (RPI), a measure of inflation.

Unite national officer, Steve Turner, said: "Our members are already struggling to keep up with rising food and energy costs.

"Our members have had enough; the liberalisation of ground handling services across UK airports has resulted in a race to the bottom which must and will stop.

"We will not stand back and allow labour costs to determine whether contracts are won or lost."

Union members at Manchester Airport will vote on whether to take action next week, while staff at Birmingham and Newcastle airports will also be balloted. The ballot result for Swissport workers at Stansted is expected later today.

Unite said it expects the airports to follow Gatwick's lead.

The strike will halt all baggage handling and check-in operations across airlines including; Virgin Atlantic, Monarch, Thomson Fly, First Choice, North West, Air Malta, Air Transat, Oman Air as well as some smaller airlines.

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