19/08/2009

Bank Holiday Air Strike Balloted

Baggage handlers and check-in staff at three of the UK's busiest airports are being balloted for industrial action, which may lead to flight disruption over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Employees of Swissport, Rentokil Initial and ASIG at Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted airports may strike.

Unite and GMB unions have accused Swissport of reneging on a two-year pay deal, struck last August, to give workers a 2.75% pay rise.

A spokesman for Unite said: "Swissport are reneging on that second-year deal.

"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."
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A spokesman for Swissport outlined their disappointment to learn that, regardless of the result of a ballot currently being held, the trade unions have already indicated their intention to take industrial action.

He said: "This proposed action is in support of their demand for a pay increase to all employees despite the fact that Swissport is incurring heavy losses due to a 19% reduction in flight volumes this year.

"Swissport has avoided large scale redundancies and site closures to date [and] has made every effort to minimise the impact of the current market conditions on its employees.

"Any industrial action will jeopardise such efforts and threaten future prosperity of the company and jobs."

The result of the ballot will known on Friday.

See: Strike May Hit Bank Holiday Air Travellers

(GK/BMcc)

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