Easter travel plans could be disrupted if baggage handlers vote for strike action next week. The GMB union is balloting 150 members employed by Swissport at Stansted Airport over changes to working patterns.
GMB says the changes will require baggage handlers to travel an additional 13 times a year to work, which will increase transport and childcare costs. The imposed changes to shift patterns will cost on average of £1,000 per year for each worker, claims the union.
GMB organiser Gary Pearce said: “The GMB shop stewards have been meeting with Swissport since January. 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 handles 11 airlines at Stansted, including Monarch, Ryanair and Thomson Airways.
“Swissport claim they have lost work on the Ryanair contact at the airport. GMB baggage handlers have seen no evidence of this,” said Pearce.
He added that Swissport have also claimed that they are losing money on the contract, but they have failed to give GMB evidence to confirm this, leading members to question whether it is true.
The results of the ballot will be announced next week on 29th March. If the result is in favour of a strike then it looks likely to happen over the Easter weekend.
So far there have been no statements issued by Swissport.