A strike by baggage handlers and check-in staff that would have affected airports across the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham, has been called off.
Swissport employees who are members of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, were due to walk out on Friday 23rd December in protest over an offer by Swissport of a 4.65% pay rise over three years. But Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, announced today that the unions had accepted a new pay offer after negotiations, which will now be put to a vote by members.
Swissport previously said it had made several offers since April of last year, attempting to play down the number of staff who voted for the action. However, the company agreed last week to sit down to talks.
By contrast, British Airways is also in talks regarding a pay dispute and a planned strike by cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but according to McCluskey progress has been “painfully slow”.
British Airways cast aspersions on the strikers, stating that, “This calculated and heartless action is completely unnecessary and we are determined that it will fail. We will plan to ensure all our customers travel to their destinations so that their Christmas arrangements are not ruined.”
However, McCluskey countered that, “Unite remains ready and willing to talk to BA at any time. This dispute can be sorted but the company needs to come to the table with a positive offer.”
This is in addition to industrial action from Virgin Atlantic pilots, who will work “strictly to contract” from December 23rd, and strikes from Post Office and Southern Rail staff.
(Source: The Guardian)