Strike May Hit Bank Holiday Air Travellers

Airports may be left in chaos should proposed industrial action get the go-ahead.

As the August Bank Holiday weekend looms, travellers may be facing the nightmare of both baggage handlers and check-in staff refusing to work.

The dispute is set to hit all three of the UK's busiest airports where staff are being balloted for industrial action.

There are fears employees of Swissport, Rentokil Initial and ASIG at Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted could strike over the popular holiday weekend.

The Unite and GMB unions are accusing the company of reneging on an agreement to give workers a 2.75% pay rise.

In response, Swissport said it was "incurring heavy losses" during the recession and any strike action would threaten jobs.

But unions had been expecting workers to receive their pay rise in April under a two-year deal struck this time last year.

That prevented a walk out last August Bank Holiday but now, a spokesman for the GMB said the result of the ballot would be known on Friday.

The workers being balloted include more than 300 at Gatwick and about the same number at Manchester.

A spokesman for Unite said that under the second year of the deal agreed in 2008, they were due a minimum 2.75% pay increase.

"But Swissport are reneging on that second-year deal," he said.

"They are saying that any pay increase needs to be self-financing, but we are saying this is a deal which has been agreed and we want them to keep to it.

"Once they initiate the deal then we will agree to negotiate and talk with them more."

A spokesman for Swissport criticised the threat of bank holiday action, which he said was "designed to cause maximum disruption".


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