London Stansted Airport Baggage Handlers to Strike As Talks Fail

London Stansted Airport in the UK has issued a warning for passengers travelling to and from the airport on May 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28, and June 2 to 6 2012.

The airport has announced that members of the GMB and Unite unions, which represent the ground-based handling staff at the airport, will take planned periods of industrial action on those dates. The unions announced the strike action as talks aimed at resolving a dispute with Swissport International, a company that provides ground support services at Stansted Airport, were said to have failed. The dispute concerned work rosters.

The seven days of industrial action will include the following schedule:

From 05.30 hrs on May 23 to 05.30 hrs on May 24, 2012.

From 05.30 hrs on May 26 to 05.30 on May 28, 2012.

And 05.30 hrs on June 2 to 05.30 on June 6, 2012.

The airport notification states, that ‘it has contingency plans in place and expects to operate a full flight schedule. Stansted Airport will be open and plans to operate as normal at all times.’

Gary Pearce, the GMB organiser, has said in a statement, ‘GMB negotiators have been in talks to reach an agreement to resolve this issue since the agreed suspension of the strike action scheduled over Easter. It is a shame that Swissport made and then withdrawn a number of proposals including a return to the original 4 days on and 2 days off roster which would have settled the dispute. The proposals were withdrawn last Friday. GMB gave notice of further strike action on last Tuesday while have continuing to negotiate but without success. No one from Swissport has made any attempt to contact GMB over the weekend despite knowing that we are available 24/7 to meet with them. It seems we are at the end of the line and that strike action will begin at Stansted airport form 0530 on the 23 May until 0530 on the 24 May.’

BAA Strike Will Add to 2010 Airline Woes

Employees of BAA ( formerly British Airlines Authority) are threatening to strike, a move which could spell disaster for Britain’s tourism industry. The six airports owned and operated by BAA cover several of the UK’s biggest travel and aviation regions, and could result in thousands of missed flights and cancelled appointments if closure is the final outcome.

BAA was privatized in the late 1980s as part of efforts by the Thatcher government to minimize state control of assets. The company operates six airports within the United Kingdom and many more overseas, making it one of the largest of its type in the world. The closure of the company’s UK assets is projected to cost the travel industry tens-of-millions of dollars in lost revenue.

It’s also threatening to ruin thousands of holidays, particularly as the strikes are planned to occur during the nation’s peak tourism season. Unite union officials are aiming to avoid a strike, instead opting to negotiate for a more competitive pay deal directly with airport authorities. BAA’s offer of a 1% annual pay rise was rejected by the union, who claim that the workers deserve more.

Should the strike go ahead, it will be the second major setback for Britain’s travel industry. Delays and cancelled flights from the Icelandic volcano eruption have cost the industry several hundred million dollars already, with some of Europe’s largest airlines still involved in efforts to repay and reimburse those affected by the disaster.

With several leading travel firms teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, another setback could spell the end of commercial travel bookings. Recent strikes by British Airways and a lack of disposable income have already hurt the travel industry, resulting in missed revenue targets and several major bankruptcy cases. Approximately 35% of the involved employees support moves to strike.