Stansted’s baggage scanning staff to strike on bank holiday

The baggage-scanning operatives at Stansted Airport are set to go on strike during the bank holiday weekend following a vote over pay cuts.

Members of the UK trade union, GMB, have voted in favour of strike action and said that pay cuts are not acceptable to members. The strike is planned from August 23 to 26 and the action will be effective between 3.30am and 6am and 3.30pm and 6pm each day.

Members were 92 percent in favour of strike action over the pay cuts for staff employed to screen checked-in baggage before it goes into the holds of aircraft. The strike could mean passengers will be left with the choice of being delayed or travelling with cabin luggage alone.

Mitie, the contractor who employs the GMB members to run the baggage system, imposed pay cuts from June, which included a cut in premium rates for night work and overtime of 3.5 percent, and increased pay rates of 2 percent.

Gary Pearce, GMB regional officer, said ‘Mitie are expecting GMB members to agree to the removal of premium rates for working nights or overtime worth 3.5 percent to pay for a pay rise of 2 percent. In spite of months of talks telling the company this was not acceptable to our members they went ahead and imposed these pay cuts from June. GMB members have rejected this imposition. They have now voted overwhelmingly for strike action.’

The walkout will cause ‘huge delays’, he said, adding: ‘Our members will have two stoppages of two and a half hours each, to avoid closing the check in desks for the whole day.’

‘GMB as always is available to have discussions – but only the restoration of these premium rates will avert these stoppages,’ Pearce said.

A spokesman for Mitie said: ‘We hope that we will be able to reach an agreement with the union, but if we can’t full contingency plans will be put into place to ensure any disruption to passengers is kept to a minimum.’