Bank holiday airport strikes called off while union seeks legal action

Strikes set to take place at major airports over the bank holiday weekend have been postponed as the union seeks legal advice over the pay dispute.

Last week, baggage handlers at Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports voted in favour of strike action after their employer Swissport reneged on a two year pay deal – set to award employees a 2.75% pay rise this year – but the industrial action has now been postponed while Unite union pursues legal advice.

A spokesman for Unite, which represents 600 workers at the three airports, told Personnel Today the pay deal was a contractual agreement and the union was now consulting lawyers about pursuing a collective case for breach of contract.

He said: “We are taking legal advice from lawyers to see if we can pursue a claim on a contractual basis for the 2.75% award. Hopefully it will get settled, but it could go to tribunal.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman at the GMB union said the ongoing strike by 100 baggage handlers and ground staff at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport would continue over the bank holiday.

The strike, which began on Thursday, was sparked after the employer Servisair announced it planned to make 27 compulsory redundancies.

The spokesman added it was possible that the strike could escalate in coming weeks with the airport’s fire workers potentially joining the picket line.

Liverpool airport has already drafted in workers from Shannon, Dublin and Derry airports to cover the striking workers.

A spokesman for Servisair said: “We are disappointed that the unions have decided to take industrial action but our contingency plans will ensure that services are not disrupted.”


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  • Are employees who are required to work on bank holidays entitled to pay in lieu of time off, or additional holiday?
  • Can employees be required to take annual leave on bank holidays?

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