Ground staff at London city threaten to strike
February 18th, 2011 by elisa

Ground staff at London City are threatening to strike and have accused CityJet, a subsidiary of Air France, of refusing to increase salaries from 2008 and of bullying women who have returned to work after having babies.

Trade union GMB claimed one of the airline’s managers told a new mum on her first day back at work that her ‘grooming needed attention’ and accused her of putting on weight. It said the airline also insisted the woman removed her nose stud, which she claimed was integral to her religious beliefs, and she has since been sent home. In addition to these claims, the union also says the airline wants to get rid of flexible rosters for mothers who work part-time, forcing them to go on to the general rosters.

GMB Central Executive Council (CEC) has given the ground staff (employed by Aviation Resources) permission to hold a strike ballot over pay, treatment and terms and conditions of employment. The staff provide check in and dispatch services for CityJet, Air France and KLM.

Talks are scheduled with the conciliation service ACAS on Monday 28th February, but the union said it would push on with a strike ballot if no progress is made.

GMB organiser Stephanie Attwood said: If GMB members vote in favour of strike action, this will have an impact on all CityJet, Air France and KLM flights arriving and departing from London City Airport in March.

“The GMB CEC recognised that a pay freeze against the background of over 9.2% inflation is not sustainable. Neither is CityJet’s behaviour which is from another era, running roughshod over people’s rights and dignity with no regard to race, religious or family commitments. It is only a matter of time before the balloon goes up.

“CityJet itself has refused to negotiate with GMB and are compounding this by refusing to allow Aviation Resources to have meaningful discussions with GMB.”

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