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Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport have voted for a three-day strike over shift changes they say will reduce their pay, prompting fears of travel disruption over the Easter Bank holidays.The GMB union balloted 150 of its members at the airport after their employer Swissport announced changes that could amount to £1,000 less pay a year for each worker. These changes will also mean baggage handlers have to travel to work more frequently. The GMB said this would be an additional 13 journeys a year meaning employees will incur extra transport and childcare costs.In response to the strike vote Swissport said it was disappointed the union had decided to call for industrial action as the employer “wants to avoid redundancies”.The company’s general manager Richard Prince said: "The proposed changes to working patterns will achieve a proportion of the necessary savings we need to make to offset our decline in revenue and it means we will avoid job losses. "We are not cutting people’s pay. We are not increasing the amount of hours they work. "We are asking people to spread their contractual hours over a five-day week and not a four-day week. We are keeping people in jobs."However, when the strike ballot was first announced earlier this month, Gary Pearce, GMB organiser said: “GMB has offered several alternative shift patterns and working arrangements but the company refuses to listen. The company is intent on imposing these changes without agreement and this is completely unacceptable. "Swissport claim they have lost work on the Ryanair contract at the airport. GMB baggage handlers have seen no evidence of this. Swissport also claim that they are losing money on the contract. GMB has asked to see the evidence to confirm this but Swissport have refused to comply, leading members to question if what they are being told is true.” Following the vote to strike Pearce said: “I have notified Swissport of the ballot result and I have asked them for more talks to try to avert action over these pay cuts."Unless there is urgent talks and a settlement, this vote for action will result in disruption over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.”The proposed strike will take place from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
Not everyone has the right to strike. My husband is a soldier and cannot strike to object to his pay freeze, an order to deploy to Afghanistan, a change to his pension rights, the threat of redundancy...............our programme for the bank holiday weekend is potentially being thrown into disaray due to union leaders trying to justify their jobs! To the person who supports this action because your husband will be expected to work harder I would suggest you ask your husband to look for a new job if you don't like the lifestyle and stop messing around with other people's lives.
Have your say...Why do ordinary people have to pay for these strikes? I understand people have the right to strike but this won't punish the management but will cause a lot of trouble to to people who have done nothing wrong. Even more, the ticket costs go to the baggage handlers anyway. I am so upset to hear that we may experience problems with our flight on Easter Saturday. We have a four month old infant and I'm seriously thinking about cancelling my flight to see my family. Not fair at all...
I find it perpetually hard to empathise with unions who invariably target their strike action to have the greatest impact on the public. By scheduling a strike for the Easter weekend, many families will suffer. Customers as key stakeholders in this process have a right to be protected too and I'd have a lot more sympathy for those on strike if they behaved more honourably.
Have your say...this company is making my partner work an extra 26 nights a year! He has been on the night shift for over 10 years. Now he has to work 26 nights more ! That's 52 extra trips to and from work ! Over 52 hours in the car ! Plus petrol ! He gets home at stupid times of the morning so he does not see his family , and has to leave early for work , so again no family time.<br/>All this disruption and extra nights and time but for NO extra money!<br/>But the management will stay on their nice pattern of 4 days on and 4 days off!<br/>I support all of the staff that will be on strike!<br/>Companies can not let the staff carry the cost of poor management!!