Gatwick And Stansted Vote For Strike Action

(BBC) – BAGGAGE HANDLERS and other workers at Gatwick and Stansted airports have voted to take strike action in a row over pay.

The action taken by the workers has raised fears of disruption at the airports over the August bank holiday.

Unions Unite and the GMB backed industrial action; but have not revealed any strike dates.

Staff expected a 2.75% pay increase under an agreement which was struck last year.

The agreement prevented strike action last August; but now unions have accused airport operators Swissport of going back on the two-year pay deal.

Unite is seeking an urgent meeting with Swissport in an attempt to settle the dispute, while the GMB said it was holding further talks with its members.

Unite’s national officer, Steve Turner, said: ‘Our members have demonstrated clearly that they are prepared to take part in industrial action and are willing to fight for fair pay.

‘These workers deserve recognition for their hard work and their continued commitment. Instead, Swissport has turned its back on the workers and failed to honour its side of the agreement.’

Swissport said it was incurring heavy losses due to a 19% reduction in flight volumes this year, adding it had avoided large scale redundancies and site closures to date.

A spokesman said the company had made every effort to ‘minimise the impact of the current market conditions on its employees.’

He stressed that any industrial action would jeopardise such efforts.